Students with principles, that's Acharya's aim
CAMPUS WATCH The expansive campus of Acharya Institutes, with digitised classrooms, large play grounds and eco-friendly buildings, is not only aesthetically pleasing but also conducive to learning
Far, far away from the hustle and bustle of the city is the sprawling campus of Acharya Institutes. Spread over 120 acres, the campus houses 10 educational institutions, 7 research centres and 6 exclusive hostels. Huge environmental-friendly buildings, well-manicured lawns, cobbled pathways and vast expanses of greenery lend the campus an airy feel. Having been around for two decades now, today, it has 10 colleges – Pre-University College, College of Education, Nursing Institutions, Graduate Studies, College of Pharmacy, School of Management, School of Architecture, Acharya Polytechnic, Post Graduate Studies and the Institute of Technology — under its wing. While Acharya Polytechnic is the first institution of the Acharya Group, started in 1990, the latest to hitch the Acharya bandwagon are PG Diploma courses in management, BSc and MSc programmes and BE in Mechatronics.
Of the many colleges of the Group, the most prominent one is the Acharya Institute of Technology (AIT), owing to the popularity of the courses it offers. Training students in various streams of engineering - Computer Science, Information Science, Electronics & Communication, Biotechnology, Electrical & Electronics, etc - Acharya Institute of Technology takes pride in the fact that it is the only institution in Karnataka to offer Mechatronics, which is the integration of precision mechanical engineering with electronics, computer systems and advanced controls to design and construct products and processes.
“Being a unique course, Mechatronics attracts a lot of attention from students. This programme provides broad-based education in the basic principles of electrical, mechanical and computer engineering,” says Dr G P Prabhu Kumar, principal of the college.
All the courses offered under the Acharya banner have been accredited by the respective authorities while AIT is one of the very few colleges in the state to have met the stringent quality standards set by the National Board of Accreditation. It is also one among seven colleges from Karnataka to be selected by the World Bank for the issuance of grant amounting to Rs 4 crore, while VTU has offered Rs 10 lakh for research work to be carried out in the Department of Biotechnology.
Acharya also boasts of a huge pool of highly qualified and helpful faculty where most of the teachers are doctorate degree holders and the teacher-student ration is 1:10. According to college authorities, the management keeps a check on the efficiency of teachers by considering students’ feedback seriously.
“We note students’ comments on Facebook and follow it up with our own inter-departmental investigation to ensure that our faculty members deliver. While a good teacher is rewarded, a problematic teacher is reprimanded accordingly,” says C B M Bhooshan, director - placements.
Another important aspect of the Acharya Group of Institutions is its emphasis on soft skills. As a positive step towards equipping its students for corporate roles, Acharya has in place a Finishing School, known as the International Academy for Competency Enhancement, where students are taught communication, leadership, team playing, problem solving and leadership skills. In fact, most students in their final year of graduation opt for this training as the services of experienced trainers are utilised by the Finishing School for the same.
“At the Finishing School, about 40-50 hours of training is imparted at a very nominal cost after our regular classes,” says Arun M C, a final year Information Science student.
This is not all. Special training in English language is also imparted to non-English speaking students from abroad to ready them for global careers. At the same facility is the information and communications technology training imparted to school head masters from countries like Rwanda and Maldives too.
Most students of the college emerge successful in campus recruitment sessions and walk out of the college with both a graduation certificate and a job in hand. It is at this stage of a student’s life does the soft skills training imparted by the college helps. The college has in place a big group of students who work as co-ordinators in-charge of placements on a purely voluntary basis.
“Many companies of repute visit the college to recruit their prospective employees and we take every step necessary to ensure that their recruitment experience is smooth,” says Sayantan Roy, a 2nd year student of biotechnology and a student co-ordinator.
“Initially, we did face problems with placements owing to the location of the college and the lack of industry-preparedness among our students. However, owing to the Finishing School concept and the willingness of our volunteers to assist them, the process is running smooth now and we are getting repeat visits from MNCs, which is a very positive sign,” says Bhooshan.
At the sprawling campus is also an incubation centre which provides infrastructure to budding entrepreneurs wishing to set up businesses of their own.
The entire campus is WiFi enabled, giving access to internet and intranet data, both indoors and outdoors. And, all the classrooms are digitised with a range of audio-visual equipments including white boards, LCD projectors, computers, digital storage devices, etc. There are libraries galore in the campus with each college and every department within the college having its own library, in addition to the central library which houses innumerable learning resources besides books.
Acharya places great importance on providing students with facilities to excel in extra-curricular activities too.
“At Acharya, the management is passionate about grooming leaders who are not only thorough professionals but also good human beings with the right set of values and principles,” says B Premnath Reddy, founder chairman, Acharya Institutes.
So, nestled amidst a vast expanse of greenery are foot ball, basket ball, volley ball and tennis courts, and a stadium with 10,000+ seating capacity. A horse riding training facility, headed by an experienced trainer, is also available along with other indoor game amenities. The college has its own television channel, community radio and a newspaper, brought out by the students of journalism. In addition, the college celebrates Acharya Habba, its annual culfest, when several inter and intra-collegiate competitions are held.
The campus, designed in a student-centric and eco-friendly manner, also has a manmade lake, a rain water harvesting unit and a water recycling plant that makes it self-sufficient as far as water is concerned.
Life on the campus is, of course, incomplete without a few good eateries. Acharya offers good eateries and hostel facilities to its students and they are free to choose the kind of accommodation that suits their pockets. Though a few students complain about the distance of the college campus from the city, several of them are quick to add, “Ample number of Volvo and college buses ply on a regular basis. Location of the campus is no longer an issue now.” Well, that says it all!