Amrutharaj Krishnan: A teacher’s job is to make students industry-ready

An educator’s mission is to make his students understand the difference between a job and a career, says Dr Amrutharaj H Krishnan, professor and head, Department of Media Technology, Manipal Institute of Technology, Manipal in the Print Guru series

14 Jan 2024 | By PrintWeek Team

What is the USP of the print and packaging industry in India?
To my understanding, printing is a service industry. Print professionals must remember that the customer is the king. The main responsibilities of the printing company are decent customer dealings to maintain a warm and healthy relationship and on-time delivery with no compromise on the quality. 

As an educator, what have been the three biggest problems you have faced?
An educator’s mission is to make his students understand the difference between a job and a career. Making the students industry-ready by focusing on the industry requirements and teaching them about the latest technologies is another important task.

How do you think these obstacles could be tackled creatively?
These are not obstacles, they are part of our profession. These can be achieved through dedication, commitment and good interaction with printing presses.

Which is your favourite subject and why is it important?
As a teacher, all printing topics are dear to me. Eco-friendly printing technology in any of the print verticals is challenging and needs good research, thus, it is one of my favourites.

Today, you are a teacher. Who was your guru, and why so? 
From the time of birth till death we learn lots of things from different sources. My parents are my first gurus. I took up printing technology as my profession due to my father’s advice and it is his decision that made me what I am today.  Later in life, I came across many lovable and motivating gurus who helped me academically and professionally. My respect to R Suresh, Kukkilaya, MC Abraham, TM Rajan, Sathish Pai, KP Rao, Wng Cdr Baliga, Sri Vincent Pinto, Dr Rajendrakumar Anayath, Dr Vinod Bhat, Dr Vinod V Thomas, Dr Gopalakrishna Prabhu, Sri Gautham Pai, Sri Mathew Abraham, Sri Shashiranjan, Sri Mohanakrishna Haribabu and Sri Vinay Krishnan.

One innovation you implemented after listening to your student?
We initiated minor research projects which are time-bound and cost-effective solutions for an identified problem. This helped the students to think innovatively, understand the subject more effectively, enhance their creative and analytical skills and work as a team. Over 25 projects in different areas were carried out by students in the department under the faculty's guidance. The project, Paper-based flexible hose for health science application, by Uthith Narayan, Shriya Shyam, Nikeel Kumar and Vaishnavi Iyer was very innovative and was appreciated by many medical practitioners. 

Were you the minister of printing and packaging, how would you tackle the industry's problems creatively?
It is not necessary to become a minister for printing and packaging to solve the industry problems. Through bilateral and mutual understanding all industry problems can be solved.

What ingredient do you seek among your young disciples?
Respect for parents, elders and teachers are the basics expected of the new-gen disciples. In addition to these, they must be honest, hardworking and ethical.

An article/listing in a publication that impressed you?
Scopus-indexed research article on Total Production Management in the Print Industry by Dr Nagaraj Kamath and Advancements of AI in the Print and Media industry lecture by my colleague Devicharan R.

Your present preoccupation in the field of research?
Supports and collaborates with inter-disciplinary high-end projects like bio-ink from plant resources by Dr Narasimhan, bioplastic by Dr Nagaraj Kamath, and edible packaging by Ramnath Shenoy who is also a PhD scholar.

One project you are excited about?
Incorporating the possibilities of AI in modern printing technology.

Assuming you can align with a print or packaging association, what would be the three most important things you would expect from it?
Technical and testing facility, excellent team members and grant opportunities. 

The industry needs skilled professionals on the shopfloor, and different printing education institutes have been churning out printing professionals for decades now. Still, there seems to be a disconnect between industry and academia. Why? What do print teachers want from the industry? Read more in this series where PrintWeek asks 13 print gurus.