Interview by Yash Panchal
Dr. Pavithra Thaminaar is working as the Secretary of KSG College of Arts and Science. A practicing Medical Physician, she has graduated from Sri Ramachandra Medical College & Research Institute. She proceeded to the United States of America and completed her residency in Internal Medicine. As a Board Certified Internist, she served with leading Research & Multi-Specialty Hospitals in New York / USA. A doctor with immense knowledge and experience. A fountain of inspiration and leadership.
Dr. Pavithra on how the education industry is the best industry to work in
I started off with my interaction with students in my residency itself as I was the chief resident in my final year and so we had to take an active part in teaching the students and guiding them. The best thing about the education industry is you get to change or shape the future of these children. I feel like when I was in school I did not have many teachers to look up to and I always felt like I need to be that person that I did not have in my life.
In my point of view, this industry is very gratifying and there is some sort of moral satisfaction. It is not like a monetary benefit, it is more of a moral and a social benefit as it feels like you are doing a social service. This makes me feel complete.
Leading by action sort of leadership style
The leader must lead by action. So, I try to set an example for my staff and my students so that they can follow me. My leadership style is not that of an authoritarian, I try to take everybody’s ideas, I sit with them and we make a collective decision.
Significant challenges faced as the Secretary of K.S.G. College of Arts and Science
I feel like people are laid-back, there is a lack of sense of time and I have seen this all over and not just in KSG. I think people, in general, have a lack of respect for time and things don’t happen in a timely fashion. People take things for granted and they don’t follow through with what they say, so sometimes you will have to push people and this can be challenging.
Ensuring best practice of industry to meet the industry requirements
Apart from the Job oriented programs of the Bharathiar University which comes along with the degree of Bharathiar University, we offer exclusive programs to the students like value added courses, soft skills, aptitude training, spoken English and personality development, so that the students meet the Industry requirement.
Providing apt placement opportunities to the students
I guess the reason why most of these kids come to college is to get an education which translates to getting a degree which further translates into getting a good job. So, if you help them get a good job that would help grow the institution and at the same time, it will help grow opportunities for the students. It works in tandem as one helps the other out.
As of now, we have different companies who come in and take a look at our students. We also have some classes that were suggested by these companies, so we are also educating these students based on the information supplied by these companies. Right now, we also have soft skills and we are big on Spoken English. Since Hindi is the National language of our country and many states also use Hindi due to migration and that is why we are trying to inculcate Spoken Hindi in our college. We have also started an IAS Academy basically to prepare students for exams like IFS, IAS and other Civil Service exams.
Establishing a cordial relation with the students and being available for them
I am not the regular secretary; I meet up with the students as I am on campus most of the time. I interact especially with a lot of the hostel students as I feel like the day scholars come to the college and leave but hostel students are the ones that are staying back, so this has to be their second home. So, if you make it comfortable for them, they will stay happy here. So, when I interact with the students, I ask them what is going on in the campus? I try to make it more comfortable for them. I am also a big advocate of keeping the environment clean and I believe in a green-environment, so I am constantly advocating that by telling the students to keep their environment clean and anytime I am called for a lecture, I talk to them about the environment or I talk to them about the moral principles.
Thoughts on an ideal school environment
The first thing I would like to do is reduce the number of hours that a student spends in class. I think we need to take them outside the class and start giving them practical experience and I also find that a lot of students who come here cannot afford their education, so I feel like we must give them time to find a part-time job so that they will be able to facilitate their own education.
A lot of these kids don’t have any practical experience. For example, they don’t know how to change an electric bulb or how to write their own checkbooks, they lack in the basic life skills. So, I think this is something that should be taken into account and when I was in school, we had something called Moral Science and I find that missing these days as children don’t even have the basic decency to help an elderly person or respect the environment. I don’t blame them for this as they come from a background where they don’t have people to teach them these things. So, I think that’s something I want the students to learn and all of these things don't really happen in the classroom. So, we must probably take them out to clean up a bus stand or an airport. I also want to teach them agriculture, I want them to learn to grow their own food.
Goals in mind for KSG College
We are currently looking at being NAAC certified and eventually, we want to have autonomy. We want to be an autonomous institute so that we can mold our curriculum in the way we want to better a child’s education.
Suggestions for the current youth
I want them to be more self-confident and more self-reliant. I want them to be proud of who they are, as a lot of them are looking up to the actor/actress and they lose themselves in this fantasy world and they start comparing themselves to other people. So, I would like them to take a look inside than outside and appreciate themselves for who they are and work with what they have.