The IIITM-K offers unique courses that are a welcome departure from typical IT and management programmes. Its strengths lie in informatics, science disciplines, ecology, social sciences and management.

The Indian Institute of Information Technology and Management, Kerala (IIITM-K), moved into a building of its own on the Technopark premises at Kazhakuttam in Thiruvananthapuram last week.

The courses provided, and the research conducted, at the institute require high-tech equipment and laboratories, and the new campus has room for them. The institute boasts the Virtual Resource Centre for Language Computing, the Centre for Intelligence and Security Informatics, lab infrastructure for embedded systems, medical image computing and services to facilitate e-governance.

At the inauguration the campus, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Industries and Information Technology Minister P.K. Kunhalikutty underlined the need to give a push to the higher education sector, considering the falling number of students graduating from the professional colleges and the poor levels of employability of fresh graduates in the State.

The institute has been allotted four hectares of land out of the property acquired for developing Technocity, some five km from Technopark. A full-fledged residential campus will come up there with academic infrastructure, hostels, staff quarters and amenities such as health clinics, banking facilities and even shopping centres.

The aim, as Elizabeth Sherly, Director of the institute, said, “is to turn IIITM-K into an institute of national importance and help it attain deemed university status.”

“We don't go for any conventional programmes, as there are enough and more engineering colleges that provide it,” Dr. Sherly said.

The institute offers unique courses, posing a welcome departure from the typical postgraduate degree courses in IT and management offered by colleges and training centres in the State.

“The college offers unique courses based on the growing demands of the IT industry,” Mr. Kunhalikutty said alluding to the fact that the courses blend diverse subjects such as informatics, science disciplines, ecology, social sciences and management studies.

In addition to the M.Sc. course in Information Technology and Computational Sciences, the institute offers an M.Sc. programme in Geoinformatics, an M.Phil. programme in Ecological Informatics and a diploma programme in e-Governance and Agricultural Informatics. The institute plans to develop its humanities department soon, focussing on the technology management aspect of social sciences.

The postgraduate degrees offered are affiliated to the Cochin University of Science and Technology and diplomas are awarded by the Directorate of Technical Education of the State government. The institute has been functioning for 10 years and trains nearly 150 students in various streams and batches. Dr. Sherly said over 90 per cent of the students who graduated every year got placed in premier companies such as Infosys, HCL, IBM and Dell.

The institute prioritises several research projects in which students can participate and produce research papers based on the work they do. One such endeavour is the Medical Image Computing Group, which has tied up with the Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology. The data and problems are presented by the Sri Chitra institute and the group creates the required software. The IIITM-K is one of the members of the Indian Language Consortia Initiative Project coordinated by Jawaharlal Nehru University and financed by the Department of Information Technology of the Union government.

“We form some groups among the students and these students are tied to a faculty involved with the project of their interest. This happens alongside their academic training,” Dr. Sherly said.

Furthermore, the Web-based e-learning and course management system allows active collaboration between the faculty and students and resource sharing, she added.