The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) were established by the Government of India as Institute of National Importance through a Central Statute, the Institutes of Technology Act, 1961. The Act had provided IITs with special privileges: High level of autonomy, a well-structured system for academics and administration. The success of the five initially founded IITs at Kharagpur (1951), Bombay (1958), Madras (1959), Kanpur (1959) and Delhi (1961) in providing unmatched quality education and research in Science and Engineering led to the demand for establishment of more such institutions across our country. An IIT in the state of Kerala was proposed in the July 2014 union budget and on November 20, 2014 IIT Madras was designated as the mentor institute by the Ministry of Human Resources and Development. Prof. P. B. Sunil Kumar was appointed as the Professor in Charge of IIT Palakkad on January 01, 2015. Approximately 500 acres of land adjoining the Sahya mountain range, in Pudussery village of the Palakkad district, Kerala was identified as the site for the permanent campus on January 17, 2015. IIT Palakkad came into existence and is currently functioning from a temporary campus in the premises of Ahalia health, heritage and knowledge village, Kozhipara, Palakkad.
The academic activities at IIT Palakkad were formally launched, with a welcome Programme for the first batch of B.Tech students on August 03, 2015. Smt. Smriti Subin Irani, the then Honorable HRD minister addressed the gathering through video conferencing, with Shri. Kris Gopalakrishnan, Co-Founder Infosys as the chief guest. IIT Palakkad was registered as a society under the 1860 Malabar societies registration act XXI, on December 30, 2015. The first meeting of the Board of Governors of the society was held on January 12, 2016. Lok Sabha passed a bill for the establishment of six new IITs on July 25, 2016. The appointment of the Directors for the five new IITs on January 07, 2017 and Prof. P.B. Sunil Kumar took charge as the First Director of IIT Palakkad on January 18, 2017.
The infrastructure required to start the B.Tech Program with the allotted student strength of 120 were established by July 2015. The facilities for the second year were in place by July 2016 and almost all facilities required for the third year are available. A transit facility is proposed at a part of the permanent campus and is expected to be ready by the end of 2017.
Applied Mechanics Laboratory
The Applied Mechanics Laboratory houses state of the art tabletop experimental facilities in the broad areas of Strength of Materials and Fluid Mechanics. On the Strength of Materials part there are facilities to study deflection of beams, torsion and buckling. Strain gauge demonstration and a versatile photo elastic set up for demonstrating the stress patters in loaded transparent models are also available. A Universal Testing Machine of loading capacity up to 5.0kN is another noteworthy facility. On the Fluid Mechanics part, there are impressive tabletop facilities for demonstrating fundamentals of Fluid Mechanics. Versatile and easy to use, setups for pressure gauge calibration, friction losses in pipes and fittings, demonstration of Bernoulli’s principle, visualization of forced vortices are the other available facilities.
The Chemistry Laboratory is a spacious and well-ventilated laboratory equipped with all necessary safety features and state of the art worktables. Some of the lab facilities include a fume hood, hot air oven, UV-VIS spectrophotometers, calorimeters, electronic balances, electrical conductivity meters, pH meters, apparatus for studying melting point of materials. In addition, it has a RO water plant, ice flake makers, refrigerator, ultrasonic agitators, orbital shakers, and electric Bunsen burners. The lab is run on a rigorous policy of minimal waste.
IIT Palakkad has a state-of-the art Computing Centre with 60 All-In-One Dual Boot Desktops connected centrally to the File Server with LDAP authentication mechanism. All machines are Internet enabled via high-speed Internet. Two high-end Servers are used for computing and networking tasks. A firewall and Squid Proxy Server are used for access control. The lab has a seating capacity of 75 students and has two projectors for Auto cad and programming classes. The Learning Management System, Moodle, has been utilized for course content management.
The Campus, including the Hostels, is fully Wi-Fi enabled with mobility in Internet Access. Various functional units of the institute are organized into 3 separate VLANS for secure connectivity. A 1000 Mbps Internet connection from the National Knowledge Network and another 100 Mbps connection from BSNL are made available in order to meet the Internet usage requirements.
The Electronics Technology Lab provides an integrated environment for students to understand the working of analog and digital circuits, microprocessors and microcontrollers, and the interplay between computational tools and electronics hardware. Each desk of this lab is equipped with state of the art digital storage oscilloscopes, arbitrary waveform generators, power supplies and various prototyping boards (such as Field Programmable Gate Arrays – FPGAs and Microcontrollers) and a powerful desktop PC. This lab has been used to run lab courses on Digital Electronics, Analog Electronics and Computer Aided Design.
The aim of the physics laboratory is to reinforce the concepts students have learned while simultaneously acquiring the skills and developing the confidence to carryout experiments on their own. The experiments cover three major fields: Mechanics, Optics and Electricity and Magnetism. The laboratory has several sophisticated instruments such as, digital oscilloscopes, programmable function generators, green laser diode assemblies, true rms digital meters, digital balance, etc. These instruments serve as tools for precision measurements, while the emphasis is placed on experimentation.
Surveying laboratory is equipped with an array of state-of-the-art as well as traditional surveying instruments. The surveying practical offers the students hands-on training on the use of a variety of surveying instruments and the measurement techniques that they learn in the theory course. The practical sessions include linear measurements using chain and tape, angular measurements and traversing using compass and theodolite, elevation measurement using traditional (dumpy level) and automatic levels and the plane tabling methods. In addition, the use of modern instruments such as total stations and GPS is demonstrated. The current list of major instruments includes: GPS, Total stations, Vernier theodolites, automatic levels, dumpy levels, prismatic compasses, sets of plane table accessories (drawing board, alidade, trough compass and plumbing fork) and sets of chain survey equipment (metric chain, tape, ranging rod, offset rod, optical square, cross-staff, arrow, peg, etc.).
The Central Library, IIT Palakkad provides information/knowledge resources through a carefully developed and balanced collection of books, magazines and newspapers. It is enabled with Wi-Fi and LAN facility. The library stacks about 2700 books including reference resources. The library has a collection of audio-visual materials such as CD-ROM, scientific kits, etc., in addition. The users are also registered with the National Digital Library sponsored by MHRD. The library operations are fully computerized using open source library management software KOHA. The technical processing of the books is done by proper classification by using DDC classification system. Check-out and Check-in of books are done through Smart ID cards.
The Innovation Lab at IIT Palakkad has an aim of being a student run hobby lab that allows students to translate their ideas into prototypes and products. Such a facility holds immense potential in pushing forward the ‘Make-in-India’ initiative of the Govt. of India. The heart of the Innovation Lab at IIT Palakkad is a set of table top computer controlled machining systems: a dual-head 3D printer, a CNC router, a CNC milling machine and a CNC lathe, which will enable the precise fabrication of prototypes in plastic, wood and soft metals such as aluminum.
An electronics testing and fabrication setup with power supplies, signal generators and oscilloscopes has also been operational. Students have been organizing themselves into clubs in order to take full benefit of the Innovation Lab – the ‘Robotics Club’ is the first such student-run club. It is envisaged that the facility can be made available to students in schools and colleges around IIT Palakkad, thereby acting as a force multiplier in the quest to encourage grass-roots innovation. The aim is the Innovation Lab will eventually incubate companies and nurture entrepreneurs.
Apart from the teaching laboratories certain sophisticated facilities at student level have been created with the aim to introduce the students to sophisticated instruments at an early stage. As a part of this initiative, a Scanning Tunnelling Microscope (Model: nanoRev) from Quazar Technologies is in operation since December 2016.
IIT Palakkad offers B.Tech programme in four branches: Civil Engineering, Computer Science and Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering. The yearly student intake is 120, equally distributed in all four branches. The total number of registered students at present is 218 with 207 boys and 11 girls. The students come from different parts of the country, providing a truly cosmopolitan and multicultural environment. The demography of admitted students, the category and branch wise distribution are shown respectively in the following.
Statewise student distribution
Curriculum and Courses
The curriculum is set by an academic council consisting of senior professors from IIT Madras and is based on the 2014 curriculum of IIT Madras. The courses for the B.Tech programme fall into five major categories: Humanities and social sciences, Basic sciences, Basic Engineering Theory / Skills and Professional Major & Minor Theory and Laboratory. In order to complete the B.Tech programme successfully within four years, a student has to earn a total of 170-172 credits at the end of eight semesters. Faculty of IIT Palakkad, visiting faculty from IIT Madras and guest faculty, who are senior retired faculty from reputed institutions, handle all courses.
The grading policy at IIT Palakkad is based on continuous assessment. Grades are awarded on a 10 point scale denoted S, A, B, C, D, E and U, with E being the minimum grade to pass a subject. The respective credits are 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 4 and 0. Academic performance is quantified by weighted averages: Grade point average (GPA) in the first semester and by Cumulative grade point average (CGPA) in the subsequent semesters.
Merit-Cum-Means scholarships, Institute free studentships and Scholarships for SC/ST are avail-able to the students, as per the Government of India norms. These are in addition to the Vidya Lakshmi Educational Loan scheme, Tuition Fee exemptions for economically weaker sections. A total of 86 students are sanctioned scholarships.
A group of eighteen students are assigned to one Faculty member of IIT Palakkad, called Faculty Advisors. They provide guidance in various aspects, which aid students in setting meaningful objectives to realize their educational and professional goals.
A professional counseling service has been set in place to ensure that the students receive help when they face social/emotional issues that require professional approach. A NIMHANS trained counselor visits IIT Palakkad every week from Friday after noon to Saturday.
IIT Palakkad has access to the good health and emergency care facilities available in the Ahalia integrated campus. Whenever a need arises, referrals are made to hospitals at Palakkad and Coimbatore. In addition students are covered under a comprehensive medical insurance scheme for a nominal early subscription.
The medium of instruction is in English. All students lacking sufficient background in English language are given English language improvement classes after regular class hours. About 25 students are benefitted every year.
Interactive sessions after regular class hours are arranged for the academically weak students, identified based on their performance in the first assessment tests. Well-trained teaching assistants handle the interactive sessions.
- IIT Palakkad respects the privacy of each student. Personal details of all students are kept strictly confidential. This helped students exist in a single homogeneous group irrespective of their widely varying financial / social background / category.
STUDENT ACTIVITIES AND EVENTS
A variety of student-centric activities and events were organized. The primary goal of such activities was to stimulate and cultivate the intellectual, logical and scholastic potential of every student and increase the awareness of social responsibility.
National Service Scheme (NSS) is part of the curriculum. NSS activity does not carry any academic credit but participation is compulsory. The students under undertook a variety of socially relevant activities. A marathon was conducted in association with the State Bank of India, and was supported by the District Sports Council on the national Independence Day. It was flagged off by the District Collector and the District police office provided the necessary traffic / security arrangement. Tha Rashtriya Ekta Saptah in connection with the birth anniversary of Late Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was celebrated and a mass run with the banner of unity was organized in the Ahalia campus.
Interaction with students of nearby schools for helping them grasp fundamental principles of science, providing computer-based learning kits to the inmates of a local orphanage, blood donation camp by student volunteers, and landscape development and cleaning hostel premises, are the highlights of the other activities of NSS.
Life Skills program
This program is part of the course Life skills, a two credits Pass / Fail course. It is mandatory, but the credits are not included for GPA / CGPA calculation. It is organized in two modules with about three days for each module. The first one is a personality development module intending to develop inter/intra personal relationship of individuals and to build their confidence. The second module, out bound training, involves mainly individual and group physical activities with an aim to develop skills required for leadership and management of resources including time.
A student council consisting of General secretary, Academic affairs secretary, Hostel affairs secretary, Sports affairs secretary, Cultural affairs secretary has been set up since 2016. Secretaries to various posts are elected through polling. A “soap box”, moderated by a IIT Palakkad faculty is organized on the eve of the elections.
Extramural Lectures, Seminars, Talks and Workshops
Additional programs are being conducted periodically.