The Indian Institute of Technology in Palakkad, Kerala was established in the year 2015. During the 11th five- year plan it had been decided to expand the number of the premier educational institutes like the IITs, so few were added. By the time of the 12th five- year plan, it was decided to further expand as still some states and regions were underserviced. That is why four more IITs were started. These are popularly known as the ‘Baby IITs’. They are in- Jammu, Palakkad, Tirupati, and Dharwad. These new IITs have over a period of time gained in reputation and are fast closing the gap on the top incumbents. Lakhs of students from all over the country enroll themselves over countless hours of coaching classes in order to secure a seat at the IITs.
Securing a seat at the IITs is done through a rigorous selection process involving the JEE (Joint Entrance Examination). This is the largest entrance exam in the country in terms of numbers and possibly amongst the largest in the world. This paper is given by more than 12 lakh people annually. It is a 3- hour exam worth 90 marks constituting 3 segments with equal weightage. Those segments are- Physics, Chemistry & Mathematics. The best of the performers, totaling roughly 2 lakhs of them are further shortlisted for the JEE Advanced which is for selection to the IITs. The JEE Advanced is conducted over 2 rounds on the same day. The morning paper which runs from 9 am till noon is followed by a break and then another 3 hour one. The pattern, however, is not so well understood as the marks pattern is not clearly defined. It keeps changing annually. Admissions to the master’s level programmes are via the GATE (Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering).
To start with, the classes of IIT- Palakkad were being held at a temporary location. But the campus is soon to move to its permanent 500- acre plot just outside the city of Palakkad. A smaller transit campus is already in place of the permanent location, with facilities for both girls’ and boys’ hostels. The IIT- Madras is to act as its mentor in the initial few years. Among the ‘Baby IITs’, the IIT- Palakkad is already equipped with a greater choice of courses. 4- year B. Tech, 2- year MS and doctorate programmes are all on offer. The BTech can be pursued in four different areas of engineering which are – Civil, Electrical, Mechanical, and Computer Science & Engineering. MS programmes can also be facilitated for science or engineering grads in Physics, Chemistry or Mathematics. There are four broad areas of study here. This includes the basic sciences, engineering theory, and professional lab work. Realizing its importance over the coming years, the IIT- Palakkad even has a specialized Humanities and Social Sciences wing. Research facilities exist for all these different academic areas.
Right from inception, the IIT- Palakkad has been trying to align education with technology. That is why the Chandra High-Performance Computer Cluster (HPC) has been installed at the premises, which enables super- quick digital connectivity. In this way, students are also able to take up certain lectures on online mode. Several sessions are available on the local Moodle network. There is a separate Career Development Centre which helps facilitate students with internships, placements, and live projects. Several companies have been part of the grooming process. Examples include- Titan, Arista, Daikin, GE, and TCS among others.
The students at IIT- Palakkad have already been involved in several innovative activities. On the social side, the institute is a prominent center for the NSS (National Service Scheme). Public lectures are organized under the Institute Colloquium where prominent speakers are invited to speak on important business or tech issues. To instill a greater level of innovative abilities among the students, Extra- Mural Lectures are also organized. Here, the speakers speak on issues beyond the core of business or tech. Topics could range from art to books, or cinema and travel. Another feature at the IIT- Palakkad is the MuSe which is the Museum of Science and Technology. It even has a YouTube channel of its own. Multiple student clubs exist at the institute. The target is the successful execution each year of the Petrichor, which is the annual techno-cultural fest at the institute. Students proactively participate in the government programme Ek Bharat Shreshth Bharat scheme which promotes tourism and cultural motifs. The local SPIC MACAY chapter is also extremely active with regular events being conducted.
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