IIT Kharagpur celebrated its 66th Foundation Day on August 18. It was on this day in the year 1951 the foundation stone of the IIT system was laid in a nondescript backyard of a railway colony in the small town called Kharagpur,carving the name in the academic map of the world.
"With the history of a political detention camp where freedom fighters, of the age of first year IIT students, gave their lives, the IIT system has become one of the finest brands that independent India offered to the world", said Prof. P P Chakrabarty, Director of IIT Kharagpur. He also remembered his school teacher on this occasion who was incarcerated in the Hijli Detention Camp for 15 years. "Building leaders is the aim that is fostered at the Institute now" added Chakrabarty.
Surajit Kar Purkayastha, IPS and Director General of West Bengal Police and an alumnus of IIT Kharagpur who was the Chief Guest of the programme said, the standard of IIT Kharagpur is such that any student can become high ranking civil service officers. He explained how the scenario of recruitment in civil services changed in late 70s' with encouraging more engineers to join the services and enrich the country with their analytical skills and technical expertise. Shri Purkayastha also appreciated the serene atmosphere of the IIT Kharagpur campus separated from the chaos of the world outside and helping students to concentrate more on their career development. He urged the students to lay foundation of strong character on the occasion of the Foundation Day which will take them and the country forward.
On this day, the Institute announced life-long email service for its 55000+ alumni community. The Institute presented the Nina Saxena Excellence in Technology Award to Mr. Jeen Britto.M, ISRO Scientist, for his exemplary innovation in the field of Cryogenics Instrumentation and Automation. Prof. Krishnendu Chakrabarty, distinguished professor and Director of Graduate Studies at Duke University, was handed over the Distinguished Alumnus Award to which he was a recipient in 2014. IIT Kharagpur also introduced the Staff Excellence Award this year and honored three staff members in various categories.
The programme also saw participation from high school students of three schools - South Point, DAV Model School and Kendriya Vidyalaya. An interactive session was organized with the school students with the faculty and students from IIT Kharagpur. The students were given brief introduction of the interdisciplinary domains of technology education which they can pursue. While the faculty emphasized on the following the passion of the young mind instead of 7-digit pay packages, the 1st year students from IIT Kharagpur suggested their juniors to balance the hours of study and recess.
The session was followed by a debate engaging verbal face-off between two teams – comprised of students on the one hand and members of Faculty on the other – on a topic that is extremely relevant in academic corridors today, the motion: We hardly need teachers anymore, now that we have Google. The teachers drew attention to the many ways technology can aid students today and why that makes the traditional roles of teachers redundant in enhancing learning. The students focused on the centrality of subjective guidance and human support in the learning process. In the end, it was the rebuttal to points made by the Faculty Team that clinched the day for the student team.