The Mahindra group made its formal foray into the higher education sector on Monday by launching its Mahindra Ecole Centrale (MEC) Engineering College.
Set up on the outskirts of Hyderabad, the college is in partnership with Ecole Centrale Paris, a 200-year-old engineering education institute of France.
The college began with its first batch of 240 students. The college has the facility and infrastructure to take in up to 500 students a year and Mahindra has plans to get there in coming years.
This initiative of the Mahindra Group is by Mahindra Educational Institutions (MEI), a 100 per cent subsidiary of the $3 billion software company Tech Mahindra. MEI, a not-for-profit, was set up in September 2013 to establish various educational institutions in the country.
Explaining the details of institution and how it intends to be different, Rahul Bhuman, who has been involved with this institution since its inception and leads Tech Mahindra's strategic initiatives in education and finance, says the model is based on providing students a multi-disciplinary approach.
"The pedagogy is different with focus more on hands-on learning. There is more practical-oriented training. There is a case-study and problem-solving methodology at work along with mini-projects and internships."
There is a 31-member faculty, including five from France. This, says Bhuman, means a teacher-to-student ratio of less than 1:10.
Learning French is compulsory for students.
This may come in handy since the college expects half the students to be hired by French companies. "We expect about 50 per cent of students to be absorbed by French industry for international positions, about 15 to 20 per cent going on to take up PhDs and the balance 30 per cent would be absorbed by the Indian industry," he says.
Learning French is important also because the course is recognised by CTI (Commission des Titres d'Ingnieur - Engineering Degree Commission) of France - the equivalent of the All India Council of Technical Education.
The course is also recognised by Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University Hyderabad.
Bhuman says the course fee is Rs 4 lakh a year. Residence facilities on campus would cost another Rs 90,000 per annum. This would work out to more than double what IITs charge but less than some other Indian private colleges.
Bhuman says the course also includes international experience where students will go to France during the course. The school has tie-ups with banks for student loans and there are scholarships for the meritorious, he adds.
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