The Infosys co-founder and current Executive Vice-Chairman was giving the keynote address at the valedictory function of Pan IIT Alumni Leadership Series 2013, organised here by IIT-Madras.

“Engineering college students should be encouraged to start entrepreneurial ventures in their second year itself,” said Kris Gopalakrishnan who co-founded Infosys and is currently Executive Vice-Chairman of the firm.

“It is safer to fail while in college,” he said, remarking that the students’ expectations were lower and so, it was easier for venture capitalists to fund their businesses while they were still in college.

He urged colleges to follow the method of Kerala University, where entrepreneurship is part of the curriculum; the university gives an attendance waiver of 20 per cent to start a business. It also gives 4 per cent grace marks.

He was giving the keynote address at the valedictory function of Pan IIT Alumni Leadership Series 2013, organised here by IIT-Madras. The need to connect featured prominently in the talks which were centred on the theme “Bringing the real world to the classroom.”

Bhaskar Ramamurthi, director, IIT-M, stressed the need to borrow the “professor of practice” idea from the U.S. A professor of practice is a person who comes into academia after several years of industry experience and can form a bridge between the academic and “practical” ways of teaching the students. “These are people we must look out for,” he said.

Kumar Jayanth IAS, commissioner for higher education, spoke about evolving smart classrooms where exchanges could be interactive.

Awards were given to those alumni who had engaged with faculty from other engineering colleges during the project. The meeting was attended by college faculty who had participated in the Engineering Education Summit and alumni of the institute.

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