At 6 p.m., when most colleges are closed for the day, there is a buzz of activity at the University Visvesvaraya College of Engineering (UVCE) here. A large number of students are seen streaming in towards classrooms.
These are working professionals who are pursuing their undergraduate engineering course at UVCE.
As many as 540 students (60 students in each batch of each year) are completing their Bachelor in Engineering (BE) from the three part-time courses of UVCE.
The third one — civil engineering, was started this academic year on Bangalore University's Jnana Bharathi campus, going by the positive response the existing mechanical and electronics engineering courses have been getting over the years.
UVCE is one among two colleges conducting evening classes in the city.
The college has applied for permission to start computer science and electrical engineering courses from the next year.
UVCE principal K.R. Venugopal said that the part-time courses were a better alternative to the second-shift classes that are not allowed as per the rules.
“Many institutions were using the concept of second shift to make extra money as the first and second shifts were merged. This is a better option,” he explained. Over time, Mr. Venugopal said, the average age of the students has come down.
Not everyone is eligible for the evening courses. The candidates are expected to have been working for a year and have a certificate from a reputed company certifying this, and should have completed a three-year diploma (after 10th Standard).
Most of these students could not afford the luxury of pursuing a regular classes and were under the pressure of finding a job soon after their diploma courses. One such student is P. Palani, a seventh semester student of electronics engineering, who is working with Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
“Since these students complete three years each of diploma and BE, they are on par with the regular graduates,” Mr. Venugopal said.
These students' schedule is usually jam-packed. They work from morning till late afternoon. Immediately after their shifts end, they head to the classes. There is no concept of weekend.
“Once we go back home after classes end at 9 p.m., we are studying. So yes, it is hectic,” said Rajath Hegde. He is working as a team engineer at Bosch. Then what prompted him to take up this course despite having a decent job? “It is an ego issue,” he confessed.
“When new recruits come in after completing engineering, we are still at the junior level. After completing this course, there is scope for promotion,” he said.
Asked if any of them will go one step further and do post-graduation, Nagaraj G. said, “Those who want to take up teaching as a profession go on to do Masters. Otherwise, the technical knowledge from the diploma and the lessons learnt in BE are sufficient.”
Keywords: Engineering courses