Six years ago, when R. Natarajan, a bank clerk, wanted to enrol his daughter in an engineering course, his friends discouraged him. “My daughter cannot hear or speak but has a flair for maths and physics,” he said. “She has always wanted to be an engineer and I wanted to make her dream come true.”
Last month, Mr. Natarajan’s daughter, Janaki was hired by an IT company, after completing her engineering degree at Kalasalingam University.
At a time when engineering colleges are finding it difficult to get employers on campus to recruit their students, this university, located about 60 km away from Madurai, has managed to place 46 of its 72 students — all with hearing and speech impairments — in various jobs in the public and private sector.
The engineering course started by the university in 2007, was the first in the country that offered a six-year professional course to students with hearing and speech impairments.
Most students have found jobs in various departments in the government sector.
“We got them employment cards certified by the government to ensure jobs in every government department come their way,” said V. Vasudevan, corporate relations director of the university.
Tie-ups with rehabilitation councils in the city have also helped train the students and get them ready for the job market. “We have got permission from NASSCOM for our students to take the competency test which will also help them get noticed,” Prof. Vasudevan said.
While most private companies have offered salaries in the range of Rs. 15,000 a month, significantly lower than offers made by MNCs in other engineering colleges, there have been a few exceptions.
“Companies such as Scope International are paying our students more than what they would pay regular fresh graduates, almost Rs. 25,000 per month, which is good,” Prof. Vasudevan said. CGI group, Scope International and Sutherland were among the top private recruiters.
While most jobs offered to the students involve data entry and outsourcing, Prof. Vasudevan said the companies have promised to consider the candidates for software development as and when vacancies arose.
The fact that job offers have poured in will also increase enrolment in the course which is quite low now, he said.
“Some of us have already joined but many are still waiting for calls from the companies. Those promised jobs by the government will have to wait for at least a year to join work, which can be a little depressing,” said a student of the university.
However, quite a few MNCs who regularly go to engineering campuses for recruitment didn’t make their presence felt at the university. “Even though some companies expressed interest in taking our students, many did not have projects suited for our students, which is why they did not come,” Prof. Vasudevan said.