Interview by Yash Panchal
Dr. S.K. Salwan is currently working as the Vice Chancellor of Apeejay Stya University.
Dr. Salwan on his experience in the fields of teaching, research and technological management
I have been in Research for more than 30 years and in teaching for about 18 years. I have worked for 32 years in Missile programme with Dr.Kalam for Agni, Prithvi, Trishul, Akash, Nag. I was the founder member of the Integrated Guided Missiles Programme. My experience of research / innovation is typical Dr.Kalam style. I always encouraged Innovation and appreciated those who excelled and delivered better.
Dr.Kalam always stated Research is a risky process. Research cannot be risk-free, so one must be careful while taking up research. During the programme of research and understanding, if an aim is unachievable, bifurcate it and aim at something else for research, the Environment must be motivating. Also, the idea of Dr.Kalam is that research is crucial and no postgraduate studies is complete without research.
As mentioned by Dr.Kalam: Industry, Academic and Research must go hand in hand, academic must trust Industry and Research. Technology transferred from somewhere must be absorbed. Academics must be able to absorb the fast-changing pace of technology.
All these ideologies of Dr.Kalam are the base of Apeejay Stya University and it is practiced. Research is introduced to the students from the 1st year itself.
My experience is that “Motivation comes from within, but there must be some external force helping in letting that happen”. There should be a proper mentoring, where the problem of students’ academic, financial or anything else is taken care of so that they can explore and learn from the project.
Views on the key differences observed in the education system of Dr.Salwan’s time and now
Earlier, the Student-Teacher relationship was based on respect and it was a parental decision and disciplined as compared to now. Today’s education is Liberal arts; students have choices to study as they wish to, earlier it was only about a particular stream or course.
Now the Education is digital, availability of knowledge is more. The examination pattern has also changed, the exam and marks were teacher-oriented earlier and now it is based on interaction with teachers and an individual student’s performance.
Goals in mind for Apeejay Stya University
Apeejay Stya University is born out of man-making & nation-building, we teach the students and help them discover their own greatness. We also teach students their responsibility towards society, nation, and self. At Apeejay, we help students realize their potential and rise to their potential.
We aim at making this university as an Excellent Research centre in mainly 2 areas: “Computer Science” (Internet of things, Data Analytics, Machine learning, etc.) & “Life Sciences”, so that people can research for finding their happiness.
Measures taken by Apeejay Stya University to promote research/ Innovation among students
- Team Work - Group of 5-6 students with changing leaders.
- Our intake is based on students with highly creative and out-of-the-box thinking.
- We have the concept of major and minor, where major is bread earning, and minor is a hobby. We are a liberal arts university, we teach it on the basis of the liberal arts teaching.
- The curriculum is research centric, attached with industry and thinking.
- Financial stability and stability of peace of mind is also ensured.
- Bright students with excellent academics are given 100% Scholarship.
- Teachers hold the hands of the students; they equally participate in the projects given to students.
ASU started as the University which promotes Research and innovation and also a place for Liberal Arts, we bought together a group of dignified people to design the curriculum keeping in mind that it is a research-based university.
Views on digitization of education
Digital Platform makes knowledge easy but it cannot replace books. Books have become obsolete as you find the books on the internet but books cannot be replaced by Digital mediums as books tell you the reasoning behind a happening. Books give the power of analyzing.
Initiatives taken by the placement cell of Apeejay to ensure smooth placement drive for students
We make sure that Industrial availability is there and industry will need the students. We give students paid internships for a period of 6 months so that they can add value. We also have Industry visits which make them aware of the environment. We invite industry at the end of the semester to teach students how to face interview and other soft skills.
Tie-ups with international universities
We send our students to the international universities for not more than a months or so.Our faculties also go and visit International universities and faculties from their also visit us which help students to explore their boundaries and learn.
Message for the upcoming youth
With my 50 years of experience, I can say you must be confident about yourself; secondly, you should have the courage of convention, you should be able to face the truth; thirdly, hard work is important and lastly,concentration - you cannot deviate yourself from your goal.
And as stated by Dr, Kalam: “Don’t keep your dreams in your eyes, put them in your heart” Because if you put them in your eyes, they will shed down with tears, but with every heartbeat, you will remember your dream.