Mohali Marker: Chandigarh University, where pupils get ready for jobs
Dream come true: When two college buddies decided to venture into the business of education, they didn’t know they would end up establishing a universitypunjab Updated: Sep 09, 2017 14:16 IST
The year was 2000. Satnam Singh Sandhu and Rachpal Singh Dhaliwal, who had become buddies during their days as students in Moga, made up their minds to set up a model educational institute, which would churn out youngsters customised for the job market. People warned them against this ‘misadventure’, but they were determined. For one, they knew they made a formidable team – while Sandhu has a good grip on academics, Dhaliwal excels in administration and finance.
Though Sandhu was from Ferozepur and Dhaliwal hailed from Moga, they decided to try their luck at Landran in Mohali. What many saw as a misadventure is now a roaring success. Born in 2001, the Chandigarh group of colleges transformed into Chandigarh University in 2012.
Sandhu, who is the chancellor of the university, recounts how they thought Landran had the advantage of being close to the capital city of Chandigarh. This is also one reason why they chose the name ‘Chandigarh’.
“In the early 2002, we went to South India to study their engineering colleges. Later, we started an engineering course with 240 students in the first batch.”
“We know business is more successful when it is close to the capital of the state though we had seen cheaper land in other cities,” says Sandhu.
It was a well thought out decision, for at stake was a loan of Rs 95 lakh. Rachpal Singh Dhaliwal, president of the group, says they set out with an investment of 1.25 crore and bought 3 acres in Landran to start Bachelor of Computer Application (BCA) and Master of Computer Application (MCA) with around 100 students in the first batch.
The partners did their homework well by studying the leading institutes of the country that had been started from the scratch. “In the early 2002, we went to South India to study their engineering colleges. Later, we started an engineering course with 240 students in the first batch,” remembers Dhaliwal, who runs Chandigarh group of colleges, Jhanjeri.
But while attracting students wasn’t a problem, repaying the loan was. Dhaliwal recalls how they would borrow from friends to pay their loan installments. But it wasn’t long before their new courses started doing well.
Sandhu claims they were the first private group to introduce tourism and hospitality courses, which received a massive response. “We realised that quality education and good infrastructure aren’t enough unless they are followed by jobs. That is why we place a lot of emphasis on our placement cell.”
In 2009, the Chandigarh group started expanding its wings and began constructing a second branch in Gharuan (Kharar), which was later converted to Chandigarh University in 2012.
At present, the university is an educational home to 24,000 students from across the country and more than 550 youngsters from across the world. The number of teaching and non-teaching employees stands at 6000.
CUSTOMISED FOR THE INDUSTRY
Sandhu says their USP lies in bringing on one platform all stakeholders, be it industry, government or parents of students. “We customise our education as per the requirement of industry; in our last batch, we placed around 4,700 students in 425 companies,” says Sandhu. Both Microsoft and Volvo have set up centres of excellence on the university premises for training students. The focus is on experiential learning.
Prof Rajinder S Bawa, Vice–Chancellor of Chandigarh University, who has 44 years of experience in the field of education, claims the varsity is student-centric. “Students are members of all the decision-making bodies, be it in the board of studies or academic council.”
The curriculum, he says is industry-based, and is revised every two years to meet the changing demands of the industry. “We are also very transparent and the answer sheets of final exam are shown to the students,” he added.
“Students are members of all the decision-making bodies, be it in the board of studies or academic council.”
Prof. Gurdeep Singh, who brings to table 48 years of experience, says the varsity also takes pains to glean good practices from reputed national and international institutes. “We have introduced the inter–disciplinary concept in which a student of engineering can choose two subjects from any other department,” said Prof Singh.
Navneet Singh, deputy director of placement, says finally it all boils down to placements. “This is why we focus on pre-placements of students during their last year.” The varsity, he says, has tied up with MNCs such as Microsoft, Dell, Accenture and Amazon et al.
Besides focusing on the training and placement of students, the varsity is also careful about its corporate social responsibility. Sandhu says they have adopted six villages, which include Gharuan, Rurki, Mannkheri, Simbalmajra, Mamupur and Batta, where they hold sports activities, personality development and English-teaching classes, career counseling and summer camps.
“All of us earn an average of 18,000-20,000 a month. Family members of around 30 auto-drivers are also working in the university.”
The university authorities claim they have empowered 490 women from these villages by giving them jobs as supervisors, clerks and security officials.The students have also set up a Bhagat Puran Singh Club in which every student contributes either cash or in kind. The donations are later distributed among the needy. The students also organise NSS camp in various villages.
The sheer location of the varsity has also shored up the local economy with a number of locals in Kharar and adjoining villages getting into the business of transport and paying guest accommodation.
Ranjit Singh Rana, who owns an auto-rickshaw, says all the 72 autos on their stand near Chandigarh University are owned by residents of Gharuan village. “All of us earn an average of 18,000-20,000 a month. Family members of around 30 auto-drivers are also working in the university.”
Satnam Singh Sandhu attributes the varsity’s success to their commitment to quality education and infrastructure.
“We provide stellar education and placement, which are the backbone of the group,” says Sandhu, adding he has himself suffered due to poor quality education and he wants to make sure his students get the best in the academic field. Both Sandhu and Dhaliwal are very hands-on administrators, and make sure they visit their colleges every day. “We don’t miss going there even on a Sunday,” chorus the two.