Published: 05th December 2019
This is how SMEC is changing the game in the education sector
Recently, St Martin’s Engineering College won The Engineering College of the Year Award (India) 2019 by the American College of Dubai
The core endeavour of St Martin’s Engineering College (SMEC) is to maximise student potential. And it is because of this commitment that another jewel was added to their crown recently — The Engineering College of the Year Award (India) 2019 by the American College of Dubai. Clearly, it is not just academics that takes precedence. “The students are trained in budgeting time, fixing goals and priorities, as well as in multitasking skills,” informs the principal, Dr P Santosh Kumar Patra.
We already know that students of SMEC are known for participating in exhibitions (state and national) and competitions, but even within the college premises, their minds come alive with ideas. A testament to this fact is Laila! The robot developed by 35 students, who now serves food, welcomes guests and even helps visitors of the college in the right direction. We find out about their achievements, intervention of digital technology and more over an interaction with Principal Patra. Excerpts:
1. St Martin's recently received the Engineering College of the Year Award (India) 2019. What do you think is working for St Martin's that enables it to bag such an honour?
With all modesty and a sense of pride, I say that our college is a cut above the rest. This is my third year with SMEC and the following credentials amply testify the worthiness of the institution for bagging one more glory. SMEC was established in the year 2002 by St Martin’s Children’s Education Society. It is situated in an eco-friendly environment and the college has the best infrastructure. The college has achieved the prestigious 'A+' grade from NAAC and our engineering programmes are NBA accredited. It is the only young college in Telangana to receive UGC-Paramarsh, ISO certification, DSIR Recognition, remote centre at IIT Bombay, member of CII and MSME-certified institution. We have signed more than 78 MoUs with major companies and institutions. Careers 360 Certified as AA+; Competition Success Review Ranked 3 out of 20; Career Connect Ranked 13 ‘Best Engineering Colleges of India and Wikipedia Ranked 8th in Telangana. We received `21.46 lakh from SERB, Government of India, a consultancy project worth `200 crore from GHMC, Hyderabad, Government of Telangana and `5 lakh funding from AICTE. The crowning glory in academic excellence was achieved by bagging gold medals every year. 138 innovative products have been developed by students and faculties. Beyond all, I sincerely believe all the achievements were made possible because of Chairman M Laxman Reddy and Executive Director G Chandrasekhar Yadav for their continuous support, appreciation and encouragement.
2. While digital technology has changed the game when it comes to education and how have things changed in St Martin's since its intervention?
Blended and flipped learning paradigms are given paramount importance by all the departments. SMEC provides a perfect platform in terms of infrastructure, facilities and in providing high-quality education. e-Learning is the key to becoming successful and SMEC always stands for it. The college has a high-quality digital library (with an automated kiosk) that provides access to NPTEL videos, a wide variety of national and international research papers and MOOCs. Internet-based learning and research happens through suitably designed projects and research publications. All classrooms are ICT and WiFi-enabled with an LCD projector. Each department has separate smart classrooms which make the learning interactive and interesting.
Their faculty members have published 24 books and 40 patents
3. While learning is important, so are marks. And sometimes, learning is sacrificed for marks because that's what companies and even parents demand. How do you ensure that at St Martin's, learning remains a priority?
When learning is not limited to the classroom and books and it is made experiential for the students, I believe marks and grades are obtained as a consequence. As an outcome of success, we have 98 products developed — every year University Gold Medal and 95 per cent students are placed in various MNCs with a pay package from `28 lakh to `5 lakh. In addition to the regular university curriculum, every department incorporates micro projects, technical seminars, C-programming, soft skills and aptitude training for all the students to enhance their academic and technical skills. Guest lectures, seminars and workshops have been organised by inviting resource persons from industries and institutions. Educational tours and industrial visits are regularly organised to enhance the practical knowledge of the students and keep them abreast of the latest technological applications so that their employability skills are sharpened.
4. What makes a student from St Martin's stand out from the crowd?
Training students to develop self-reliance is the motto and entrepreneurship is the larger goal for the institution. Encouraging budding entrepreneurs is one of the prominent aspects of SMEC. Entrepreneurship is given a lot of prominence in SMEC. The students are encouraged towards entrepreneurship and are trained accordingly. By establishing their own company, the student not only contributes to nation-building, but also gives employment opportunities to many others. As many as 98 of our alumni have turned into entrepreneurs.
St Martin’s Engineering College | (Pic: SMEC)
5. Inculcating environmental consciousness in students is so important these days. What steps are you taking in this direction?
Sensitising the stakeholders is the keyword. Students are made to understand the need and meaning of ‘co-existence’ in the environment through various community outreach programmes in which they need to care for other lives — be it plants, animals or fellow humans. We actively participate in blood donation, stem cell donation and organ donation camps; taking care of nearby villages, schools, old age homes or orphanages. Because of our active participation in social activities, we have been awarded by the Governor of Telangana three times.
6. In this scenario where the importance of teachers is diminishing and learning through videos is more fun, where do students stand and what advice would you give them in these changing times?
Teachers are irreplaceable in education. The best technology cannot replace an experienced teacher. However, the role of a teacher has changed. It has gradually evolved from the traditional model of a transmitter of knowledge to that of a co-learner and facilitator. The instructional model that we follow at SMEC is that the students follow technology-enabled learning under the mentorship of the faculty and they are provided with this sense of direction. Our WiFi-enabled campus supports learning and SMS/Email alert to parents every day. Innovative student projects are lead to product development. Thus, they are in constant rapport with their teachers while being self-learners. Also, every year, Teachers' Day is celebrated richly to uphold the value.
They have 28 technical clubs in college
7. What does the future look like for St Martin's? Any new courses, programmes or events in the pipeline?
Endless pursuit for excellence is our path and goal as well. Visionary management, committed and knowledgeable faculty, motivated students, state-of-the-art infrastructure and proven success track beckon a glorious future. Soon, the college will emerge as an Institution of Eminence. For the coming academic years, we are in the process of adding programmes like Computer Science, Information Technology, Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Machine and Deep Learning, and PG courses in Engineering for the benefit of the society.
Some of the glorious awards the college has been bestowed with:
- Governor’s Award (thrice)
- The Engineering Educators' Award 2019
- NIRDPR Award (Government of India)
- Best College Award from Education Matter
- Best Sports College by Stumagz
- National Leadership Excellence Award 2019 by ICCI
Receiving the IBAE award | (Pic: SMEC)
For more on them, check out smec.ac.in