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Prof. N. V. Ramana Rao, Convener EAMCET.

Interview Date : 13-07-2013

Completing plus two,successfully, gives a great sense of achievement, and it is also a reminder that you are at the threshold of another crucial phase which is going to determine your career path. After crossing the most ‘testing’ phase of education,which parents, teachers and wellwishers kept calling as the ‘turning point’ in your academics fruitfully, most of us tend to feel at ‘top-of-the-world’. We also a ssume that admission into the ‘right’ college will automatically happen, but it is NOT SO, says Prof. N.V Ramana Rao, Convener, EAMCET, Registrar JNTU and a regular columnist on careercounselling.

This solemn reminder should serve as an eyeopener for all those aspiring to get into good colleges after Class XII or Intermediate. This requires considerable amount of awareness, homework, and interaction with those who have trodden the terrains.Prof. N.V Ramana Rao interacts with TCG to give us an insightfulinterview loaded with useful tips for students on the path of professional education.

Most of the students assume thatadmission into a good college is assured with a good rank in Eamcet. How far is this true?
It is natural to feel elated to see all the hard work being paid off with successful output, but the real story begins now. I have known intelligent students lacking the right exposure and smartness to pick the right college and course of their choice landing them in a place they would repent the next four years. To avoid this,it is better to do the necessaryhomework on colleges and course,well in advance. Prepare a checklist with important parameters.


How does one go about choosing the right college and course?
It is all about the candidate’s preference first. It is always better to look at your aptitude, subject/branch of interest,required skills-set and then look for the colleges accordingly. It makes your search easier. There are many students who still go by their peer’s words and simply follow others without paying much attention to their own capabilities and choices. This is where adults like counsellors,teachers and parents need to step in and guide the student.Some students are very clear, grounded and organised. They usually set their goals like choice of branch and college, with their own foresight and senior’s help. Keep in touch with such students.


What are the vital parameters a student or parent needs to look before zeroing down on the college?
Faculty, infrastructure, placement record, alumni details are the vital parameters. I would like to reiterate that ALL this information will/has to be available on the website. If you do not find these details, something’s fishy about it. It is very simple; when the necessary details are not refurbished it could mean that the facilities do not exist at all. Hence it is always better to run through the website, check with senior students who are already studying there and then prepare a checklist for yourself.I am not too sure how many tudents are aware of the NBA -The Nati onal Board of Accreditation (NBA), India, which was established by AICTE (All India Counci l of Technical Education) as an autonomous body under section 10(u) of AICTE act, 1987 for periodic evaluations of technical insti tutions & programmes basis according to specified norms and standards as recommended by AICTE council. It has the full authority to recognise or derecognise institutions and programmes under them. It is the only authorised body in India entrusted wi th the task of undertaking accreditation of technical education programmes.This accreditation is for colleges. Another important prerequisite is NAAC accreditation for courses (Institute established in 1994 in Bangalore to assess and accredit institutions of higher education in the country. It is an outcome of the recommendations of the National Policy in Education (1986) which laid special emphasis on upholding the quality of higher education in India)


Does infrastructure mean the constructions and facilities?
I would define infrastructure as a fully equipped AND FUNCTIONAL lab, be it physics, chemistry or computer sciences, not just the ‘good looking’ buildings. Since most of the hands-on activities and learning happens in the lab it is very important to know if it is an active experimenting centre or a passive one where the teacher just demonstrates and leaves.Any work is learnt only by doing, we all know that, hence, make sure you get into the colleges where the labs are actually used.


How about faculty?
It i s another important prerequisite we need to look for. It is the teacher who is going tomake the subject interesting. Hence know about the faculty,their experience etc. Good colleges have 1: 15 teacher student ratio which ensures oneon- one attention. It is a universal truth the PhD holders are always an asset to any educationalinstitute, so look for such faculty, especially if research is on yourcards too, in the long run.


Isn’t placement record imperative?
Of course, it is. We also have to look for payment/salary details and companies that visit the colleges for campus placements on the website.


It is a common understanding that co-curricular and extra-curricular activities are not really that important, as they don’t have a direct link with marks memo. Is it true?
I beg to differ here. As a student I always kept myself busy with many extra-curricular activities which not only energised me in a big way but also helped me to develop and establish good contacts. These activities are mandatory as they develop creativity and keep you fit. Also in the long run, such activities always enhance the credibility of your CV. This does not mean that you get into such activities only to write about them in your resume‘, but doing them with genuine interest is the key.


Are resource centres important too?
Definitely! It’s the library which is the soul of good educational institutes. Students must have know-how about the manuals,journals which talk about latest needs and trends in the industry.Apart from this they contribute a lot to general awareness. A wellinformed student always has an edge above his peer.



What are the students’ branch preferences as of 2013?
As usual ECE rules the roost. It’sbeen so because electronics is a field in demand as technology is constantly changing. After that come Computer Sciences, Electrical and Civil and Mechanical in that order. Demand for CS is definitely on downslide, on the other hand civil and mechanical are in demand again because of the infrastructure boom. Noncircuit and core branches are ever-popular! But I would like to make it loud and clear that whatever may be the choice, unless the involvement and performance is shown from the student’s end, no miracles can happen.



Most of the students are under an impression that the first year is a cake-walk and rest of the course happens effortlessly. How true is that?
It’s certainly incorrect to think that way because understanding engineering and application as well begins in the first year itself.In fact first year results of many engineering colleges show poor performance and attendance too, which obviously reflects the students’ nonchalant attitude. This may be because of the newfound freedom, but it will be wise to get out of this phase at the earliest. Success doesn’t come by whiling away time.I would also look at the student’s (from any college I pick to study) performance in competitive exams like CAT and GATE which will surely tell me about how successful the college was in laying good foundation on basics in engineering. While this is the expert’s take on selection of colleges let us take a ook at the new and exciting branches like, bio-medical,aeronautical and instrumentation engineering too. Industry and academic doyens say that growth in the avionics, aeronautical and space science sectors has also increased the scope for instrumentation engineers. Instrumentation engineers can also fit in both software and hardware sectors. Apart from covering core subjects such as system dynamics, industrial instrumentation and process control, analytical and bio-medical instrumentation and robotics, the students deal with software and hardware topics such as microprocessor and microcontroller based instrumentation, VLSI and embedded system designs, computer archi tecture and organisation and computer control of processes. Computer languages such as ‘C’ and Fortran are also part of the curriculum. This makes an instrumentation engineer fit for both the hardware and the software industry.

Moreover, since instrumentation engineers are presumed to be good in physics, the logical ability is expected to be on the higher side, which is a basic quality needed to excel in the software industry. The Career Guide advises student to have a holistic approach towards selection of branch as well as college, weigh all the pros and cons and come to a decision together with expert guidance. Remember— haste brings waste— so let this phase be a foundation for beautiful and successful future.