In pursuit of specific talent

In pursuit of specific talent

ISRO’s very own institute, Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST), has now decided to tackle this problem by offering courses in Aerospace Science.
Dr B N Suresh, Director of IIST, who was in the City recently, talks about the courses on offer.

Until last year, students were enrolled based on their scores in IIT-JEE. But this year onwards, there is going to be an exclusive test. Is it now tougher to make the cut? Or does it change the programme format?

There is not much of a difference in the content of the question paper. It is purely based on Class 12 topics. The reason we have decided to conduct an entrance test of our own is because, previously, waiting for the list from IIT-JEE delayed our courses by a few months at least. Also, we are now searching for those who are keen on Aerospace related subjects.

What makes the courses unique and specific to IIST?

The curriculum has been structured keeping the generic requirements of Science and Engineering intact with focus on Space Science and Technology to meet the high technology standards of ISRO. In addition to this, we follow the same curriculum as that is being taught in IIT and other premier institutions.

Besides the B.Tech programmes, are there any other courses in the pipeline?

We also have M.Tech and Research programmes in space related topics. Of course, this will be open to B.Tech graduates from outside and those who have completed their bond period with ISRO. But at the moment, it is only for those employed at ISRO. We are hoping to offer post doctoral programmes soon.   What about the fees?

To begin with, ISRO will provide financial assistance to all undergraduate students covering the complete cost of education, boarding and lodging. In other words, we do not charge the student or parent for the course. It is free of cost. With that comes a bond that has to be signed at the time of admission by the student. IIST graduates will have to serve ISRO for a minimum of five years continuously, failing which they are liable to pay Rs 10 lakh to the organisation.
Would this proposition address the problem of lack of specific  talent?

Yes. The entrance test is the first step in culling talent that is specific to ISRO. 2009 has been an eventful year for ISRO with Chadrayaan 1 spacecraft being a success, and other great developments. But in order to maintain that level of success and calibre, it is critical that we have the resources and power. This way, through a bond, students will have to serve ISRO for five years and we pay for their education. But if a candidate fails to meet the 6.5 CGPA in any of the semesters, they will have to bear the cost of the following semester. The same rule applies to the bond.

What according to you is the value addition from studying at IIST?

The Indian Space Programme was started in the early 60s. Today, it has evolved into providing many space-based operational services for the country. Through IIST, we are offering students higher quality education right at the centre of the best expertise in space research. We also have commendable guest faculty and affiliated members.

Students will be given the opportunity to work side-by-side with known names like Wing Commander Rakesh Sharma, Dr Roddam Narasimha among others. Besides, the Indian Space programme is the stuff dreams are made of.