BANGALORE: Dr Wooday P Krishna dons several hats. That of a technologist, educationist, social activist and humanist. A former member of State Disaster Management Authority, Government of Karnataka, he is also the honourary general secretary of Seshadripuram Educational Institutions and chairman of The Institution of Engineers (India), Karnataka State Centre.
A recipient of the Indian Red Cross Gold Medal, the highest national award for humanitarian work from the President of India as well as the State Rajyotsava Award for social service from the Government of Karnataka, he is a qualified chartered engineer and arbitrator.
He speaks to City Express about the current activities of the Institution of Engineers in Bangalore as well as the plans of Seshadripuram Educational Institutions.
World Engineer’s Day was recently celebrated in the country. Tell us about the activities undertaken by the Institution and what is being planned?
Last year, we conducted two events — the Indian Technology Congress and the Indian Sustainability Congress. The events brought together about 1,000 techies, scientists and research scholars to discuss the latest trends in technological innovation and issues of sustainability. Today, we are caught between development and environmental concerns. So, sustainability is important and the events addressed these issues. The Institution of Engineers has been concentrating on all divisions of engineering and this time the focus is on environmental engineering and marine engineering.
We have got a forum in the form of National Design and Research Forum (NDRF) through which we have undertaken research in micro air vehicles, which will be funded by government of India labs.
We have asked Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) to devise an instrument to measure blood sugar which is non-invasive. The tests conducted have seen an accuracy of 98.6 per cent. We are also undertaking research on aircraft bird strike through NDRF.
What are the main thrust areas?
Sir M V said, ‘industrialise or perish’. Today, it is ‘innovate or perish’. So, the thrust is on innovation in all technological activities. Therefore, promoting collaborative research is the new mantra and the industry and academia needs to work more closely.
Another thrust area is the value enhancement of the Associate Membership of Institution of Engineers (AMIE) by including skill development. It is a worthwhile alternative for students who are unable to pursue an engineering through a regular degree course in an engineering college. The AMIE degree is recognised as equivalent to an engineering degree by AICTE, UPSC, SSC, central government departments and state governments, etc. An AMIE degree holder can write examinations like civil services, Indian engineering services, GATE, GRE, etc. The candidates, after earning a certificate in AMIE, can opt for higher studies leading to master’s degree in engineering or any other qualification. Alternatively, these candidates can start working with government or private organisations in their respective fields of specialisation or become an entrepreneur.
Coming to your other area of interest, education, tell us about the activities undertaken by the Seshadripuram Educational Institutions.
The Seshadripuram Group has 28 schools and colleges offering education right from Kindergarten to PhD. It has institutions in Bangalore and Mysore with about 20,000 students and 1,200 staff members and was started in 1930. This year, we are started two colleges in Mysore and we have plans to expand into Tumkur and Mandya by starting schools. As for courses, we have started offering an M Com programme and want to add a masters programme in financial management and other finance related subjects. The group’s strength lies in the field of commerce.
What is your view on the current educational scenario?
Today, education is minus skills and that is a real concern that needs to be addressed. The focus has to be on self-reliance and skill-based programmes. Educational institutions have to create a climate for people to be creative. More than imparting knowledge, institutions should nurture skill and creativity. A day will surely come when all institutions will be free of affiliation and become autonomous, which will introduce several innovative practices.
Do you think the present competition in the education sector is healthy?
While competition exists, it will add to quality, otherwise there will be monopoly which will result in stagnation.
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