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Our focus is on skills to increase employability

Dr Shyam Singh Chandel, who has recently joined Shoolini University as Professor of Energy Technology and Dean, Faculty of Engineering and Technology has a rich and varied experience spread over 40 years. Here are excerpts from his interview by PRITHVI RAJ RATHORE.

Please tell us about your professional background and your work experiences?

I have a work experience of around 40 years in renewable energy technologies especially Solar Photovoltaics Power Generation, Solar Thermal, Solar Passive Building Technology, Wind Energy, Bio-Energy Hybrid power systems with vast R&D (Research and Development) and industrial experience of coordinating National and International level Energy Projects. I had formulated a Solar House Action Plan for Himachal Pradesh followed by Policy for making Solar Passive Building Heating Technology mandatory for all government or semi government buildings in Himachal Pradesh in 1994. After the successful implementation of the policy in more than 200 buildings, we further formulated the Policy for Solar Passive building features in building Byelaws in HP in 2009. I also formulated policy for the Registration of Geographical Indications (GI) of Himachal Pradesh in 2004 under which Kangra Tea, Kullu Shawl, Chamba Rumal were registered as GIs with the objective to benefit rural population and artisans.

What prompted you to join Shoolini University?

I decided to join Shoolini University when Vice Chancellor, Prof PK Khosla told me about his dream to make Shoolini University emerge among top 200 Global Universities by 2022 and how I can help the University to achieve it. This was a challenging offer and I accepted it and joined the University as a Professor of Energy Technology and Dean, Faculty of Engineering and Technology.

What are the major streams of engineering available for students in Shoolini University?

At present we have Mechanical, Civil, Computer Science and Technology, Electronics and Communication streams in the university. There is also a Centre of Excellence in Renewable Energy but I feel the Electrical Engineering stream is also required besides the Renewable Energy at Masters level in view of the focus on renewable power generation in the country for which there will be a need for well-trained technical manpower. What are the career prospects of engineering? The career prospects in engineering are still high provided the students are highly skilled with expertise in certain specific areas which we are in the process of identifying.

What are we doing to make students employable?

In order to make students employable graduate, students need to be highly skilled as required by the concerned industry. This will give them additional advantage as compared to other graduates. Some of the identified areas in which the students will be exposed are:artificial intelligence, machine

learning, ANN techniques,Optimization and Simulation techniques, Design softwares, like PVSYST , PVSOL, Solar GIS, etc. solar, wind, biofuel energy storage technologies etc. with high level design skills and more practical and industrial experience as well as research innovation in latest areas. There is a huge job potential for engineering students in multi-disciplinary areas and thus we have already started identifying such areas to focus on.

What do you think is the future scope for solar power?

Solar power in India is a fast developing industry. Under the National Jawaharlal Nehru Mission, Government of India has a target of 100GW out of which solar installed capacity reached 25.21 GW as on December 31, 2018. However, still there is a huge unexploited solar potential in the country for which trained technical man-power will be required.

What are your major plans to further improve the Engineering department?

My main plan is to further strengthen the Engineering and Technology faculty by focusing on teaching, research and laboratory facilities. I have already reviewed the existing programs and I feel that this is achievable. I am focusing mainly on three components: faculty, PhD and M.Tech students and B.Tech students in the area research, student projects, Industrial interaction and upgrading laboratories as well as creating high level testing, calibration labs which can act as testing centres.

How is working with Shoolini different from other institutions?

I found this University unique in the sense that it is quite different from other private Universities and even the best Government Institutions in terms of quality and thrust on innovation, research and IPRs to achieve the target to make it a top Global University. I am excited about this idea and working with others to achieve the target which is achievable.

What is your message to students?

One thing I would like to tell them is that they should pledge to remain uncorrupt throughout their life. Although this is a difficult path, it is achievable and will give them strength and satisfaction when they will look back at their lives.