KOLKATA, 15 MAY: A first-of-its-kind course in the country on renewable energy has been initiated in the city by a collaboration of Indira Gandhi National Open University (Ignou) and the Queensland Government of Australia.
Arka Community College will start its first batch on 1 January 2012 with 25 students for the course on renewable energy with special emphasis on solar energy. With the Prime Minister’s National Solar Mission, 20,000 MW of solar energy would have to be generated by 2022. But to achieve this goal, 10, 000 solar engineers would be needed which the country lacks. Currently, only IIT-Mumbai and IIT-Kanpur have MTech courses on renewable energy.
Mr SP Gon Chowdhury, managing director of West Bengal Green Energy Development Corporation Limited, who is also the chairman of the college, said: “The real need would be of the mid-level engineers for whom there are no courses initiated by the Union ministry of human resource development till now. So, some of the solar engineers like us are volunteering to set up the community college to train people in renewable energy.”
The solar and other renewable energy experts based in Kolkata and New Delhi would be associated with the college.
The education department in Australia would be collaborating with the college to train the teachers who would conduct the courses and provide course materials. Thirty per cent teachers in the institute would be from Australia. The students would get a certificate from the Queensland Government of Australia, which would be valid in 130 countries. They would also get a certificate from Ignou that recognises the course. The one-year course would have two semesters and would cost Rs 40,000. “Though the batch is starting with 25 students, our target for the next year is 40. We have received several applications from Chennai and Pune along with Kolkata,” Mr Gon Chowdhury said, adding that the Centre has extended its help in setting up the laboratory in the college building situated at Madurdaha, Kolkata.