Interview by Kritika Gupta
Prof. (Dr.) Nilesh Kalani, designated as Professor and Director of School of Engineering and Dean of Faculty of Technology of RK University, is a doctoral degree holder in Electronics and Communication engineering. He has industry experience of more than 3.5 years and teaching experience of more than 19 years. Besides this, he has received three awards for research paper presentations.
Under his able guidance, his student teams have won many prestigious awards including Altera’s Innovate India Competition 2006 (a multidisciplinary engineering design contest). He has received a certificate of appreciation for his contribution to the Infosys Campus Connect Program and being regarded as bronze partner faculty under INSPIRE. He is also a former National Volleyball Player and was a Sergeant in National Cadet Corps (NCC) and is Chairman of National Social Service (NSS) unit of RK University. He is very passionate to impart quality education to the students and to strengthen the beliefs of students in achieving their dreams.
Education holds the stimulus for all other industries
It is an enjoyable experience until now working in this profession. I have always believed in the fact that Teaching is the one profession which creates all other professions. It gives the power to shape a lot of young minds to help them achieve their dreams. Besides, it is one of the noblest professions, and that is why education sector is one of the best sectors to work.
Competition enhances the level of deliverance and paves a way to growth
For the last two decades, the education sector is growing like industries and many new institutes are coming up. There is a strong competition among various institutes. This growing competition can help to improve the quality of education in India. Competition is an essential part of growth to achieve the targets.
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Challenges faced as the Director of RK University
There are many challenges. One of them is ever changing government policies. We must remain alert for any new guidelines introduced by the government and try to fulfill the same without any compromise. Secondly, we have to be on our toes to ensure that we can provide the best quality education to our students by constantly upgrading the lab facilities and other resources. We, at RKU, strongly believe in imparting quality education. Last year, we have finished our first cycle for NAAC accreditation and have become the only private state university in the region to get NAAC Accreditation.
We aim to help students achieve their maximum potential
Quality of education is a key element when it comes to achieving dreams. We believe that every individual has a different perspective, and they have different dreams. For example, someone wants to do a job in a big multinational firm; someone wants to start his venture, someone wants to go for higher education and so on. So, we design our curriculum in such a way that everyone is getting benefit out of it.
Our placement ratio is more than 85%. We have Gujarat government recognized incubation center under the Gujarat start-up innovation scheme. We are also having collaboration/MoU with many multinational companies like Infosys, TCS, RedHat Linux, Amazon, Microsoft, National Instruments, Cisco etc. We have collaboration with many foreign universities for student exchange, faculty exchange, joint research etc. There is a dedicated English as a Second Language (ESL) department as well as Training and Placement Cell to train students for communication skills as well as soft skills. There is Office of International affairs to guide students for higher education.
Survival of the fittest applies in education industry too
Educational institutes need to align its steps with the rapid changes in technology, and at our University, we have adopted technology very well. We focus on providing quality education and believe that institutes imparting quality education only would survive in this modern era. We have come up with many innovations in educational practices like non-traditional examination systems, activity based classroom teaching, equal weightage to theory and practicals, industry-linked curriculum, industry certifications as part of curriculum, internal audit to ensure quality practices, course website on Canvas LMS for all the subjects, use of MOOCs to enhance classroom teaching etc. This is why our students are accepted worldwide in various industries. Many of our students are pursuing higher studies from reputed universities of the world.
Learning should always be fun for students at RK University
Apart from studies, students are encouraged to take part in extracurricular activities too. Our annual sports and cultural festival “Galore” attracts more than 3000 entries in different competitions every year. We have various students’ clubs too like Dance club, Music club, club for Social activity, Literature club, Open source software club, Aero modelling club, Chess club etc. These clubs provide opportunities to our students not just to participate in the activity of their interest but also help them to learn Teamwork, Leadership and other such skills. There is a Stationary store, Amul Parlour, Tea post, Cafeteria, and two mess. We have accommodation facility for 1200 students in our hostels at our campus.
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Our curriculum stands apart from others
We practice Outcome Based Education principles. Our curriculum is upgraded regularly and includes the inputs from industry experts as well as from our alumni working with various industries. More than 20 industrialists are part of Board of Studies of the School of Engineering. We have partnered with various industrial giants which conducts training programs to train the faculties. It helps us to prepare the students for the real-world challenges.
For example, we are offering six courses through CISCO portal and also provides the CISCO certification to our students free of charge. We offer around 12 subjects where the curriculum is designed as per the guidelines of Infosys. We are among the very few institutes to offer compulsory full final semester industry internship as part of the curriculum. Our fourth semester students go for compulsory two-week Rural Internship as part of the curriculum. We also have the unique concept of multi-disciplinary project where students of different branches work together to solve a given problem. Similarly, there are many industrial workshops conducted every semester to ensure that our students are industry-ready.
Recognition from industry is one of the boosting factors for us
Placement is one of the best parameters to judge the performance of any college, and our placement ratio is one of the best in the entire region right now and is still improving day after day. We have won many awards from industries and professional bodies. We have won six CISCO awards in the last two years including Best CCNA academy award. Infosys has given us awards for offering maximum number of industry electives.
Infosys has also recognized us as its Advance Partner under the Infosys Campus Connect Program. We have won CMAI CCI Technology Education Excellence Award of “Best University in Use of Technology in Teaching-Learning Practices” in 2015, CMAI CCI Education Excellence Award of “Best University for Promoting Industry- Institute Interface and supporting Innovators from within and Outside the University” in 2013 and 2014.
We recently have received appreciation from IIT BOMBAY for excellent contribution in the Spoken Tutorial Program. We are one of the very few four-star rated Teacher’s Training Center in India under the NMEICT project of MHRD, Govt. of India. Our faculties are invited to offer corporate trainings by various Government and private organizations. We also provide consultancy to many industries. All these achievements help us to boost our morale, and we will continue to work better and better.
Students from RK University must be an all-rounder
We work very hard to train our students not only in academics but also for their overall development. They must excel in all the fields of life and know how to deal with the everyday challenges of life. We want to produce responsible citizens of India and lifelong learners.
Stepping out of one’s comfort zone can do wonders
Youth is full of energy. The youngsters just need to channelize their energy and invest their time and energy for creative work smartly. They need to come out of their comfort zone and aim high. Anything is possible with the right guidance. All they need is a little perseverance and belief in their strengths.