Only the Calicut University Institute of Engineering Technology offers a B.Tech. programme in Printing Technology in the State.

A B.Tech. programme in Printing Technology offered by the Calicut University Institute of Engineering Technology (CUIET) remains unique by way of being the only such course in the State. The institute is one among the seven engineering colleges in the country giving an undergraduate programme in Printing Technology.

Even at the diploma level, Printing Technology courses are rare. The Institute of Printing Technology and Government Polytechnic College, Shoranur, is the only polytechnic in the State offering a diploma in the subject.

CUIET’s programme has come once again in focus with an increase in demand for expert hands in the field. The potential of the programme is being slowly recognised by the people as the technology of printing is fast growing.

The admission process for this year’s programme is about to start. The institute is set to undergo a facelift with the university coming forward to spend an additional amount of Rs. 1 crore every year for enhancing its quality. The university says it will spend the entire income generated from the institute for the college’s development.

The Department of Printing Technology there boasts 100 per cent placement for its students. “Ours may not be as lucrative as some most-sought-after streams like computer science, but it certainly has its advantages and potential,” says Manoj Jose, a lecturer at the department.

Most of the faculty members at the Printing Technology Department are new. They spend long hours with their students. Apart from an assistant professor, who heads the department, there are five lecturers there. One more teacher with research experience abroad is soon to join.

The programme comprises study of all digital and conventional printing methods and design software. It includes web- and sheet-fed offset printing, flexography, screen printing, gravure, finishing operations, print management, costing and estimation, mechanics of printing, digital prepress, digital printing, tone and colour analysis, paper and ink, security printing and DTP software.

Opportunities

Those with a B.Tech. degree in Printing Technology can be employed in printing presses, packaging industries, e-publishing firms, machine manufacturing industries, designing firms and banks, including the Reserve Bank of India.

They can take up the jobs of production executives and engineers, quality control executives, prepress managers, management trainees, maintenance managers, quality engineers and project managers.

As many as three of the 20-odd students from the outgoing batch have landed a job with a Malayalam newspaper. A brand development firm, Schawk, has shortlisted 10 from this batch. Universal Printe System Ltd. and International Printo Pack too have offered jobs to the students.

Almost all newspaper publishers will have some posts to offer to those with a B.Tech. degree in Printing Technology. Among the firms and institutions that offered jobs to the students in the past couple of years were RBI, Bank Note Press at Dewas, Thomson, HCL, Emirates and Punjab National Bank.

Although there are 30 seats for the programme, there has been a strong demand to increase the number of seats. Students in 50 per cent of the seats will pay government fees. The 35 per cent management seats will charge a fee of Rs. 65,000 a year. The annual fee for the 50 per cent government seats will be Rs. 22,000.

As many as three seats will be left for lateral admissions. Students with a polytechnic diploma or B.Sc. in printing technology can opt for lateral entry. A recent order by the authorities making it mandatory for all students to write the State’s lateral entrance test has distanced many students from other States. Earlier, lateral entry was possible through a national-level test.

“The real potential of this course, especially abroad, lies in research. Three of our students recently did their MS degree from Germany,” says P.C. Saritha, former Head of the Department. She says the research potential in printed electronics is immense.