Interview by Bhawna Rawat
Mani K. P. is currently working as the Director-School of BusinessatDe Paul Institute of Science & Technology, Kerala. He holds M.A. Economics (University Gold Medalist) from Calicut University and Ph.D. in Economics from Cochin University of Science and Technology. He has a considerable experience of 4 decades including 2 decades of experience in Kerala Agricultural University. He has served in World Bank, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) IIM, Government of India, Reserve Bank of India, UGC, NCERT, Panel of data analysis experts, The Indian Econometric Society, various Universities, B schools, National level training institutes, Autonomous Bodies, State Government, and local bodies.
Mani’s specialization lies in the fields of Econometrics, Operations Research, Mathematical Economics and Quantitative Techniques. He has taught postgraduate and undergraduate students. Other than teaching in the parent institution, he has taught as a visiting professor in various central government, state government, autonomous and other institutions. He has also conducted 18 training programmes (international, national and state level) for various categories.
To be a teacher is easy but to be a good teacher is difficult
I have about 40 years’ experience in teaching doctoral, , students in different institutions and universities in different parts of India.Over the years, there has been a significant reduction in academic standards across India.The main reasons are examination oriented learning, placement focused preparation, domination of technology, great expectations of students as well as parents, mushroom growth of institutions especially self-financing colleges.
Today, opportunities for learning have multiplied, but academic rigour is lost.
When I use the term technology, it requires some explanation.Today, students need sit in the library or buy standard . They can photocopy, cut and paste or refer internet.In many cases, internet information is sector is the best to work for a dedicated teacher.The reasons are you can share your experience with students, you will be encouraged to learn and read more, always move with the youth, social respectability and above a good teacher will be ever remembered and respected by students.However, this is applicable to only a good teacher, a teacher dedicated to the profession.To be a teacher is easy, but to be a good teacher is difficult.
A philosophy of leadership inspired by Swami Vivekananda
As the director of an institution, the following points are important:I served as Head of the Department of Economics Calicut University also.Firstly, we have to respect our teacher colleagues.I always give complete academic freedom to the faculty.They have to frame their own teaching pedagogy, conduct examinations and they just report evaluation sheets to me.We must also encourage teachers to complete Ph.D., write research papers, and undertake funded research papers. The reason is that only a scholarly teacher can develop a scholar.
Regarding student side, we have to love and respect our students.In adolescent age, they expect respect from teachers.They should have a feeling that teachers stand for their good.At the same time, in academic standards, the should be 100 per cent strict to the students.Otherwise, academic standards will come down.This is one of the reasons for the fall in academic standards.Across India, valuation and evaluation in higher learning institutions are made very easy for different reasons. Because of this, in the case of placements, reputed recruiters go with their own tests and other methods for selection. They do not believe in conventional evaluation systems.
Another important point to be taken care of is inoculating value system among students.The need of the hour academically brilliant students with values in life.Remember the words of Swami Vivekananda that “I shall change the destiny of India if I get less than 10 persons who are physically fit and mentally sound”. So, any institution head should consider these points while leading an academic institution.
There is a need to fill the gap between the syllabus and practices in the industry
DIST does not have its own syllabus.We are affiliated to Mahatma Gandhi and as per we do not have any freedom.I am quite familiar with other universities syllabus also.Based on a experience, I wish to share the following.Firstly, there is a gap between syllabus and practices in the in India except in the case of IIT and IIM.This leads to a current debate on “employability of Indian students”. It is reported that only less than 10 per students employable irrespective of state, university or course.
So, the first requirement is reducing the gap between the frame and industry needs. This is possible only if the is properly groomed.Now the same operates just for .As mentioned above, dilution in the system, use of pirated materials, substandard , less use of the , etc. deteriorate our academic standards.
Developing students’ skills together as a self-driven team of teachers
I take care of the development of students in the following ways.Any academic institution should focus on academic matters in a very rigorous way.The in each semester consists of quiz examinations, midterm examinations, final university examination, internal tests, individual and team presentations.University system insists only on two internal tests and the examination.But we go for a broader schedule.
The second part we take care of is developing soft skills, throughout the academic year. We have programmes including newspaper reading, general debates, quiz competitions, mock interviews, visits etc.The third part which we equally take is inoculating values.One problem which the corporates indicate is the lack of values and loyalty among the young generations.This is true also.We are well aware this trend and hence included value education in our training part, even though it is not mandatory as per university regulations.I will be available in my office from to 5 PM on every working day.Of course, along with me, my faculty members are also available to students throughout. The success of any institution depends on and the director is the leader to lead.I very much practice this.
Number of changes that Dr. Mani K. P. has observed in the educational industry
As I mentioned earlier, I have 40 years’ experience in academic institutions and my observations are the following:
- A quantitative leap in the number of educational institutions in India.
- Entry of private and self-financing institutions in the education sector since 1991 as a consequence of liberalization
- Starting of various diversified and specialized courses in every faculty
- introduction of technology mode in education
- increase in the number of females in higher education across India
- migration for education and employment both within the country and abroad.
- fall in quality standards due to the reasons mentioned in 3rd paragraph
- employability is a serious concern now
- increasing cost of education
- declining quality among the faculty also
- placement oriented learning. This reduces sustainability in knowledge.
- Great expectations of the students
- A fall in the value system
- Students become self-centred
The top qualities that an aspiring manager must possess
For a quarter century, Management schools flourished across the country in the name of B schools. The thing which is expected from a B school is developing future managers who can appropriately and aptly synchronize theory and practice and consequently move towards a best or optimum solution to the industry problems. But this is achieved only in the case of about 10 per cent institutions.
Based my experience, the following are the important reasons(1)traditional syllabus followed in the case of university regulated MBA programmes(2)in the case of PGDM programmes, the syllabus is framed by the institution and hence the syllabus will be updated, but the validity of PGDM for employment is doubtful (unless there is placement from the institution). (3) examination system for MBA(4)less exposure to industries and industry related problems(5)low employability of MBA graduates, unless they are coming from reputed institutions(6)even though they are getting employment, low rate of retention(7)this happens because the new generation is not trained to adjust with the present industry stress.
The following are the suggestions to make the management courses more attractive:(1)delink the traditional MBA programmes from conventional universities and should bring under separate institution like technical universities(2)insist minimum quality standards for management courses admissions(3)the government can think of having a national level entrance examination (4)the present examinations for admissions are not very rigorous and its purpose is only to fill the total seats(5)revise the syllabus with half of the syllabus content focusing on real issues(6)at least 50 per cent of faculty should come from industry or with industry experience(7)give more focus on the study method of learning(8)of the total marks 50 per cent should be based on cases and practical oriented questions(9)make the project work more serious(10)by all means, try to raise the employability of management students