Dr. John D’Souza is the Principal of Shree Warana Vibhag Shikshan Mandal’s Tatyasaheb Kore College of Pharmacy. He has been in the education sector for almost 20 years now. He started academia as a career in December 1999 at Bharati Vidyapeeth’s College of Pharmacy, Kolhapur. He is currently Central Council Member of Indian Pharmaceutical Association and Chairman, Education Division Indian Pharmaceutical Association Maharashtra State Branch.While recognizing his contribution towards Pharma Academia, he has been bestowed with prestigious Barrister P G Patil Best Teacher Award – 2011 by Shivaji University, Kolhapur.
In conversation with Pranav, Dr. D'souza talks about his college and also about his leadership style. His talk is noteworthy for the aspirants as well as the parents. Edited excerpts –
Education is not an industry it is a responsibility
I consider education not as an industry but as responsibility. In contrast to an industry, where the raw material is converted into a saleable product; in academia, students are raw materials and expected to be transformed into a responsible citizen; if not, then entrepreneur or at least potential employee.
For this, it is the responsibility of all the stakeholders to see this transformation happen. As it has the potential to transform the society and the nation; and impact a nation’s progress; I consider Education as the most important service to the society. This occupation is best among all; as it provides an opportunity to develop thinking brains, skilled hands, and positive attitudes to lead the world. With chalk and challenges, we can create and change lives!
My leadership style is a mixture of Democratic, Transformational and Transactional
According to my understanding my leadership style is a mix of – Democratic, Transformational and Transactional leadership. I believe in participative decision making, but at the same time when innovation is the key to success, I force my team members to work out of their comfort zone, and do the things that makes the society a better place to live in. Those who contribute in this process must get accolades and awards.
Positive attitude is missing from Indian higher education
The most important challenge in higher education in India is to imbibe values like hard work, honesty, self-discipline, value for time, self-initiative, commitment, etc. As the purposes of any academic institute is to instil knowledge, skills and attitudes; the imbibing right/ positive attitude is the most challenging.
Unanimous syllabus across universities for Pharmacy Council of India
In India, all universities follow a similar syllabus of Pharmacy Council of India. The syllabus is designed and revised by people of national repute, including highly experienced industry experts. The syllabus revision committee takes all due care to satisfy the industry’s expectations.
I follow open-door policy in my institute
I am among those Principals, who loves to be with students as often as possible, participating in their progress and distress. I do not keep any barricades between students and me. I am accessible to all my students 24/7.
We have a system of ‘parenting’ where 15 to 20 students are assigned to each of my teaching staff as local parents. There is continuous tracking of student’s progress through this system. We do our best to stay active on social media so that we can not only be in contact with our students but parents too.
Ideal university environment involves students and teachers in the learning process
According to my understanding, the ideal school environment is one where all students and teachers are involved in the learning process in such a way that – there is no ego, no vested interests, no fear; but there is only eagerness to learn. Teachers, supporting staff and administration are relentlessly supporting students to gain knowledge, develop technical and professional skills. We try to keep the communication clear and all the processes transparent.
I, not only encourage such an environment but strive to build it. I try my level best to follow the discipline, time punctuality and transparency as I believe that students are good observers and learners. We as a team make all efforts to instil an attitude of life-long learning, and other human values, by frequently organising workshops, trainings, lectures, etc. The industrial visits, in-plant training helps them to shape up into personality that industry expects.
We aim to become India’s Best Pharmacy College
The most important goal that we want to achieve is to evolve into India’s best pharmacy college. With this, we want to satisfy society’s expectations about professional pharmacy services being pharmacists as key personnel in health care of the society. We dream to develop the pharmacist with complete knowledge of drugs, safe use of drugs, drug-drug and drug-food interactions; and skill sets to expedite as the respected professional.
We are confident to achieve it by knowledge/ skill development cells in the institute. We are doing fantastic as per the research domain is concerned. We aspire to be the ‘Centre of Excellence’ in drug product development research and animal experimentation.
With the qualified, experienced and dedicated staff and state-of-the-art facilities we are set to get accreditations, certifications from National and International agencies in the next few years.
Follow the cycle “Learn to earn to learn”, nothing will be impossible
Dear students, we are living in ‘Knowledge Society’, the world of ‘ITC” (Internet and Telecommunication). You are going to face cutthroat competition. And if you want to survive and progress, having degrees is not enough. You need to be extra knowledgeable, highly skilled in both technical and soft skills and have a positive mindset and attitude.
Success is governed by 10% intelligent quotient (IQ) and 90% of emotional quotient (EQ). Emotional intelligence demands self-realisation, self-discipline, internal motivation, empathy and social skills. One should never learn to Earn, but “Learn to Earn to Learn”. If you will remain in lifelong student mode, nothing is impossible!