It is time parents and students came out of their conventional mindset in choosing courses. This was the essence of talks delivered by experts and their interaction with the students at the recent The Hindu Education Plus Pre-Counselling session at Tiruchi.

More importantly, the event was an opportunity for students to relate their aptitude to the various options mentioned by the eminent speakers constituting the vice-chancellor, Indian Maritime University, P. Vijayan; the Dean - Planning & Development of SASTRA University (the title sponsor), S. Vaidhyasubramaniam; Career Consultant and Analyst, Jayaprakash Gandhi; and Motivational Speaker and Journalist Lena Tamizhvaanan.

Students learnt that there was no cause to get paranoid over the perceived decline of the IT sector. The sector has bounced back and the large-scale employment by IT companies has already commenced, speakers explained.

Dr. Vijayan said that having exhibited resilience to economic recession worldwide, India now ranks supreme in ship building industry in particular and maritime sector in general. A job in maritime sector as Marine Engineer or Nautical Officer was very lucrative, he said, listing the diploma, degree and MBA courses offered by the Indian Maritime University held in high esteem the world over.

The vice-chancellor advised parents to look for the entire details of the Port courses, Marine Courses, Nautical Science, and MBA courses at the university website: www.imu.tn.nic.in.

Mr. Vaidhyasubramaniam spoke about the wide opportunities in the fields of Information Technology, manufacturing, infrastructure, biotechnology, retail sector, banking and financial sector, and tourism and hospital management.

He was upbeat about India being the centrestage for recovery of the automobile industry worldwide. There was abundant scope for gainful jobs for students taking up conventional engineering courses like Mechanical, Civil, and Electrical and Electronics Engineering, what with India planning an investment of one trillion U.S. dollars for carrying out various facets of development in the 12th Plan period, he said.

Mr. Jayaprakash Gandhi appealed to parents and students to analyse the infrastructure and faculty strength of an institution very well before making a choice of the course and the college.

His emphasis was on specialisation in key areas of a chosen course to suit the requirements of the dynamic job market. He was quite confident that the IT sector would grow at a tremendous pace in the years to come.

Mr. Gandhi said that the emerging areas were agricultural engineering, materials science, petroleum refining, pharmaceutical engineering, geoinformatics, and electro-chemical engineering.

Opportunities were huge in the six-year Pharmacy Doctor programme offered by six colleges in Tamil Nadu, he said.

Motivational Speaker Lena Tamizhvaanan explained the techniques of time management. Punctuality, he said, was a mixture of many good qualities.

K. Vanniaperumal, Commissioner of Police, Tiruchi City, in his inaugural address, urged the students to plan their career well in advance, pursue the area of aptitude with dedication, develop general language, and undertake team effort in the company of like-minded peers towards achieving the objective.