Come admission time, most parents wish that they owned an engineering college or two.
But how does one start an engineering college?
This is how.
This is a very tricky area. Lack of proper and attractive name can be disastrous. Look at what is happening to the unimaginatively titled ‘Indian Institute of Technology’, it can’t even attract half-decent faculty.
Also, giving a name is not as simple as appending a proper noun to go before the words ‘Engineering College’.
We will deal with this through a practical example.
Consider this hypothetical name: ‘Kollangudi Karuppai Engineering College’.
Obviously it doesn’t ring right on the ears. So what’s wrong here?
Yes, the problem is ‘Engineering College’. If what you are planning is a serious scientific institution of high capitation fees, the name must be: ‘Kollangudi Karuppai College of Engineering’.
#Rule 1: It’s always ‘College of Engineering’, and never ‘Engineering College’.
But let us face it, ‘Kollangudi Karuppai College of Engineering’ itself sounds dowdy and downbeat, and will be decidedly inappropriate when it grows up and achieves the exalted institutional expertise of having full-page advertisements for itself in leading newspapers.
So, out goes —— you guessed it right —— ‘College of Engineering’.
And in its place you have the stylishly resonant: ‘Kollangudi Karuppai Institute of Technology and Science’. ‘KITS’ for the convenience of your mouth. (KITS, Kannamapettai will be delightfully right for the alliterative rhythm that it produces and can roll off the tongue with ease. Students from such institutes generally get placed in NASA).
#Rule 2: Ignore #Rule 1
Okay now that you have a name for the college, the thing to look for is a big board to put that name on. Once this is done, the next logical step is to look for a place to put the board on.
And that takes us to…
Take a vehicle. Drive for 45 minutes in any random direction out of the city. Stop. Take a breather. And now drive again for another 45 minutes. So where are you? In a nowhere land, a spot seemingly tailor-made to commit daylight robbery?
Well, this is the ideal location for an engineering college.
(Don’t draw my attention to Anna University (Chennai), which is positioned bang inside the city. For heaven’s sake, we’re writing a humour column here and not making an inventory for Google Street Map to be bothered with facts).
#Rule 3: Cement factories, liquor distilleries, circus tents and engineering colleges are always situated well beyond the city limits.
I guess it has got something to do with pollution norms.
The other big advantage of housing an engineering college so far off from anywhere is the price of land: You don’t have to pay anything.
All you have to do is: Fence several acres of arid, dusty land, place the name board, ask for directions to the house of the MP/MLA of the nearest constituency and hand him the requisite money so that he or she doesn’t squeal that you have occupied space that doesn’t belong to you.
If you manage to follow this strict rule and maintain the status quo for five years or so, even the Supreme Court cannot dislodge you from this place. After all, you are now a respected educationist involved in the social welfare activity of providing scientific knowledge to a community of students who will not find any use for them in real life.
And if you can keep this stunt on for over ten years, your college will grow into a centre of scientific excellence worthy enough to ceremoniously bestow doctorates on film personalities who have been part of movies that mock scientific reasoning.
#Rule 4: Remember, everyone loves free doctorates.
Accreditation and Permit
An engineering college has to adhere to some strict norms and several licences need to be acquired before it can start selling application forms, printed at a cost of Rs 5 per piece, for Rs.500 per piece.
As can be easily guessed, the most pivotal of permits for an engineering college has to come from the local RTO.
Because, an engineering college, by definition, has to have more buses than KPN Travels.
Also, an engineering college can get away with poor faculty (as the IITs have been for several decades). But in this age of rigorous checking and continual inspection, it cannot do without well-qualified bus drivers.
#Rule 5: MTC chairman will be an ideal engineering college principal. T Nagar bus depot manager can make it as an HOD.
With name, place, thing adequately covered, the engineering college has just one more aspect, but something fundamental to its purpose, to cover: The capitation fees.
You don’t go to a Shakeela movie for artistic camera work. And you don’t start an engineering college for charity.
But if you are slightly queasy about accepting capitation fees, the best way out is:
Yes, align the college to a godman or a mutt or a church order. Voila, capitation fees become ‘contributions to social welfare activities’, which is black money that is eligible for tax benefits.
#Rule 6: Religion is the best ally for propagating science and technology.
And now come the peripheral issues like classrooms, course, curriculum, teaching staff, university recognition. Having them in reality is optional. But you need to feature them without fail in the ‘prospectus’.
Once you keep this going, before long your engineering college will become an university for scientific development, by which we mean, it can start offering Management courses that put to use cutting edge-technology as represented by PowerPoint presentations.