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An Interview With Our Vice Chancellor

I feel quite comfortable: CUSAT VC
Rajendran Puthiyedath

Kochi, April 12, 2010 : This is a homecoming for this man who, after a span of 23Dr Ramachandran Thekkedath, CUSAT VC , years has returned to his parent institution to head it as its Vice-Chancellor. Dr. Ramachandran Thekkedath is the twelfth Vice-Chancellor of Cochin University of Science and Technology.

He was willing to give an exhaustive interview to Mathrubhumi Education when asked for it. When asked about his present feeling he replied thus: ” I feel quite comfortable and think things are under control”.

What is your assessment of CUSAT after assuming office here three months back?

= I had some apprehensions about the quality and standard of education here before coming to here. That was mainly because of the launching of the BTech courses. There were only PG courses and research during my time here. That was a golden period of CUSAT.Now I understand that my apprehensions are baseless because there is a good faculty for BTech including a good percentage of teachers with PhD. I am trying to bring them to the mainstream .

What do you think as your mission as CUSAT VC ? Plans including academic and other matters ?
= The university logo has a Sanskrit saying on it reading ‘thejaswina avadhoothamasthu’ which means spread the knowledge we gathered . I mean, the society could get the tangible benefits of the research and other related activities here.

Any new idea about launching new courses ?

= That has been narrated in the current budget of the University. We plan to introduce integrated Post-Graduate courses. This may take at least three years for full implementation. Then courses in Alternate Energy.We thought well in this direction and had some discussions also. Luknow University has a course in Alternate Energy. But they found it is not directly beneficial for the students. So what we plan is to introduce Alternate Energy as a specialication for MSc and MTech courses. For eg; MSc Physics with Alternate Energy as specialisation.

I have one more idea in my mind – to launch Enabling technologies in age related problems. I had a discussion with Dr. K Mohandas, Vice -Chancellor of Kerala University of Health and Allied Sciences. He has shown interest and so I am optimistic about it.

Compared to your predecessors you are very young. At the age of 52 you could become the VC of this University. Many of the faculty members here are senior to you. Do you find any difficulty in dealing with them ?

= No. I feel otherwise. I respect them and I get respect from them. This mutual respect helps me a lot.

There are some allegations or rumours that you don’t have adequate teaching experience ?
= I don’t know why those rumours are here. I had been with the Sri Chitra Tirunal Institute of Medical Science, Trivandrum for about 10 years. Though my designation was “scientist” I used to teach medical students there. Moreover I had been guiding the doctors at Trivandrum Dental College. Dr. Mohandas, the present VC of Kerala Health University and Dr.A Jayakrishanan, the VC of Kerala University, were there.Dr. Jayakrishnan and myself were living together in an apartment for four years.

What about spending on “luxurious car” for VC and planning expensive modernisation of VC’s bungalow ?
Dr. Ramachandran Thekkedath, CUSAT VC, Photo : V, S. Shine= The car I purchased was Skoda and it is not so luxurious. Its purchase was necessitated because of the lack of adequate leg space for the existing car. When dignitaries came they found it difficult to sit in that car. I felt it especially when Nobel laureate Prof. Alferov came here recently. He was having back pain and knee ache. He could not sit in the VC’s car provided for his travel. The present car was bought after much negotiations and it is one of the lowest priced among Skoda models.

About accommodation – the present quarters of the VC is not livable. As such I had asked for some repairs. The university had asked M/s Sukumar Associates to prepare an estimate. They submitted an estimate of nearly Rs. 45 lakhs but then and there I rejected it and asked one of the engineers I know to prepare an estimate meeting basic requirements. He has prepared an estimate of around Rs. five lakhs. Only that much will be spent on quarters repair. Only after completion that work I will move to there.

Why is there neither the photo nor the profile of VC on the varsity’ official website ? There are rumours spreading about it and it is reliablty learnt that somebody has asked for details in this regard as per the Right for Information Act = It is not deliberate. Actually the website itself is not impressive and I have a plan to redesign it. The profile and photo are already given in the varsity’s house magazine and the same will be loaded on the website also without delay.

Thanks To matrubhumi

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