Looking back to the eventful history of the Cochin University College of Engineering Kuttanad (CUCEK), Pulincunnu in its sweet seventeenth year after inception would invoke a mixed feeling in the mind of a CUCEK lover. The only one of its kind in the locality around, it has the capacity to grow beyond a mere Engineering College or a University Department. Offering four engineering under-graduate courses, it has been initiated under the aegis of the CUSAT on 21st October 1999 as a University own department outside its main campus, in the picturesque piece of land in Alappuzha district, Pulincunnu, part of Kuttanad. Being formally inaugurated on 25th of October 1999 in the presence of many Syndicate members including Dr. K C Joseph, the then MLA of Kuttanad and the visionary behind it and Sri, James K J, the Special Officer of CUCEK, the College began its academic activities in rented buildings which belonged to the St. Mary’s ITC, Pulincunnu and the St.Joseph’s HSS, Pulincunnu. There were 195 students in four B.Tech branches, Computer Science and Engineering, Electronics and Communication Engineering, Information Technology and Mechanical Engineering in the first ever batch admitted. The faculty members were deputed from the Centre for Undergraduate Studies in Engineering (now, the School of Engineering), CUSAT and recruited on contract basis from among retired and reputed faculty of nearby institutions. The experience and guidance from many of the senior faculty members benefitted the student and junior faculty community of the College. Thereafter, the College flourished into an institution offering six undergraduate (B.Tech) programs in Engineering (Civil, Computer Science, Electrical and Electronics, Electronics and Communication, Information Technology and Mechanical Engineering) and a post graduate program, Master of Computer Applications (MCA), within a span of four years.
An educational institution of this kind offering many professional and technical courses and admitting students from all parts of the country and initiated in a place remote from the main transportation system and townships has been questioned by many, in the recent past. But, if it is viewed from a global perspective, it could be noticed that the best educational institutions were groomed up in rural areas which are away from distractions and pollution which are part of urbanization. Kuttanad has been a place which is surrounded by many water bodies, like lakes and rivers and without much land transportation network. It could not offer much to education including schooling, in the past. But, given the agriculture-based living of people, pollution-less atmosphere, availability of abundance of land, encouragement and enthusiasm of the people around, possibility of research elements, like soil, water, environment, structures, appropriate technologies, etc would definitely catalyze the development of an educational institution of this magnitude, in this locality. The institute is standing tall in the middle of the historical rice bowl of Kerala in spite of minor elements of pulling down the entire system which could be observed part of any development.
The University procured nearly 40 acres of land in Pulincunnu and constructed semi-permanent buildings for the conduct of classes and administration by 2002-2003. The College was shifted to own place by the academic year 2002-2003. The MCA course was initiated in 2000-2001, B.Tech in Electrical and Electronics Engineering in 2002-2003 and B.Tech in Civil Engineering in 2003-2004. Initiatives to construct a permanent building became fruitful when the first five storied building of Kuttanad having 5000 square feet habitable space was opened as the main building of CUCEK by the then Chief minister of Kerala, Sri. V S Achuthanandan, on 9th January 2010. A series of laboratory buildings, a library building and limited sporting facilities are housed by a mini-campus of CUCEK in nearly 3.5 acres apart from the main campus of academic and administrative infrastructure facilities.
Sri. James K J was the Special Officer and in charge of the Principal, CUCEK for the initial five formative years of the College. Under his vision and guidance the College had been developed into a full-fledged institution. Dr. M I Thampan, Smt. Preetha Mathew, Sri. Oomman Samuel, Dr. Job P A, Dr. Josephkutty Jacob, Dr. Mathew Cherian were the formal Principals of the College. Now, the institute is lead by an eminent academician, Prof (Dr) P S Sreejith, who is deputed from the School of Engineering. Within a short span of six months, he has managed to streamline the academic activities of the College to achieve a proper shape and punctuality. All the permanent faculty members of the College have either secured their doctorate degree in their respective disciplines or pursuing for the same and have experience of more than 15 years. The model set and guidance imparted by them lead the temporary faculty members and the students in the right path. The students have achieved many milestones, including academic ranks in the University, selection in competitive examinations, like the GATE and other UPSC examinations, Civil Service examinations, sporting goals, etc., under the constant inspiration and motivation of the faculty, in the past.
Apart from the eight academic divisions (Civil Engineering, Computer Science and Engineering, Electrical and Electronics Engineering, Electronics and Communication Engineering, Information Technology, Mechanical Engineering, General Science and Computer Applications) there is National Service Scheme unit, Placement and Guidance cell, Arts Club, etc., working to the benefit of the community in and around the campus. The College can play a vital role in the upliftment of the society around in terms of education, living standards, solving social and environmental issues, etc. The soil, water, construction activities in Kuttanad, etc., give abundance opportunities for research to an institution, like this. If driven in the right path, the institution has the capacity to excel not only in regular academics and research, but as a role model for community education to the country as a whole.