Interview by Kritika Gupta
Mrs. G Srividya Reddy is designated as the Vice-chairman of G. Narayanamma Institute of Technology and Science, Hyderabad. She is an Engineer having graduated from the prestigious JNTU and also holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration in HR & Marketing from the ICFAI School. She leads a multi-faceted life as an educationist, entrepreneur, social activist, and community volunteer, and is actively associated with the G. Pulla Reddy Charities Trust for nearly two decades.
Mrs. Reddy’s keen interest in the academic and non-academic activities of the institution has been a driving force in achieving accolades and prestigious certifications like the National Board of Accreditation (NBA), National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC), International Standards Organization (ISO), and more. Under her supervision Research facilities like BTBP has proven to be valuable contributions to the progress of GNITS. The establishment of Apple Lab for training the young women engineers of the college, and the visit of Mr. Tim Cook, CEO – Apple, are feathers in the cap of her achievements. A hands-on person, she has a modern outlook, coupled with innate leadership qualities that drove the institutions to rank among the top in the country.
An honor to be a part of education sector
I have been working in this field for over 12 years now. Started in higher education field then got into school education. The best aspect of this industry is the satisfaction it gives me in being a part of nation-building — an extraordinarily noble and responsible field. I feel privileged to play a role in moulding the careers and thus the lives of the youth of our country.
Challenges faced as the Vice-Chairman of G. Narayanamma Institute of Technology and Science
I think that no aspect of this field is a cakewalk. As the field itself is human centric, the challenges are many.
Firstly, finding, recruiting and retaining efficient staff for not just teaching but inspiring the students is tough. India has a long way to go in terms of having well qualified and motivated teaching personnel.
Secondly, the students join us with high aspirations, but very low ground work on skills such as LSRW, self-learning and more. We have to build their profile from scratch and make them unlearn before they learn.
Thirdly, close relationships need to be built with corporates and research organisations to provide opportunities to students to use their creative and entrepreneurial abilities.
These are the major challenges that I come across serving at this position.
Curriculum meeting the standards of industry
We are an autonomous institute; this allows us to customise the syllabus according to the fast-evolving industry needs. We give extra support to students by having seminars and training sessions on new technologies, like Bloch chain, IoT, AI, and more. We also follow very high standards in terms of having the best teaching staff and technical equipment.
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Reaction of students towards the program
The first year of engineering is generally tough cause students to have common subjects in all branches, including physics, chemistry and higher levels of math. Many are not comfortable with this as they prefer to do core engineering subjects related to their specialisation. The students also realise that engineering education is not mere book reading and has multiple dimensions to it. They are surprised realising that they have to put in much more hard work and break out of their comfort zone to ace the course.
Methods opted to establish healthy relation with the students
We have an open-door policy. No student or staff need permissions to talk to us. Everything is transparent & discussed and evaluated before a decision is taken. We also take student feedbacks regularly every semester to ensure that the learning process is going on well. We have a solid alumni network that supports the existing students concerning placements, guidance, and more.
At the outset of every academic year, we have an open house day, where we meet the parents and students and talk to them about their expectations and aspirations and also convey our plans for them.
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Initiatives taken to make students industry ready
As mentioned above, we arrange extra sessions for students to develop their technical skills in developing areas that are not covered in engineering syllabus and also give them training for placements in all areas of personality development. The training and counselling start from the first year itself so that they have enough time for development. We also have industry experts visiting our campus to update us on newer technologies and platforms continuously.
Going further, we are developing incubation centres to support students who come up with product development ideas. We are also in the process of getting patents for their products.
Leadership philosophy and style
I believe in leading by example. I am an engineer myself and know exactly the challenges faced by students in their 4 years course. I connect to them very well as an Alumni, and they look up to me to guide them. It not only helps me to get insights of the ongoing scenario in the institute, but, helps me to make things better in a lot many ways.
Mrs. Reddy on minimizing the gap between traditional and modern way studies
By having technology support, us to reach the students after the working hours has become easy. Students have access to online content and can also clarify and communicate their doubts with their professors in a better way. We also use other technologies like Smartboards and video conferencing in the classroom sessions to explain the concepts visually. We try to balance out the methods of delivering education to the students, meaning, we use traditional way (paper assignments, classroom delivery sessions, mock sessions) and modern technique (digital ways – visuals, industry tours, exchange programs) to keep the students and faculty inline.
Suggestion to the youngsters
I believe patience is one thing that the new generation lacks. Though it is good to be ambitious, they need to have breathing time to introspect, plan, and organise their time and efforts in such a way that they do not get lost in the crowd. I advise them to choose their career after analysing, researching and consulting the experienced individual and then select a perfect path.
In this rat race and a desperate need for the youth to be recognised and appreciated in social media and other circles, they have damaged their physical and mental health. There is a high chance that they will burn out soon and cannot live a happy and healthy long life. I suggest them not to forget their roots.