Professor P. K. Banik is the Vice Chancellor of AKS University, Satna since June, 2015. Prior to this assignment, he was the Founder Vice Chancellor of Adamas University, Kolkata (2014-15) and Director General of Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University (PDPU), Gujarat (2010-14). He was the Director of School of Petroleum Technology, PDPU in 2009-10. During 2005-2008, before joining PDPU, Professor Banik was the Director of National Institute of Technology (NIT), Silchar (Assam), an Institution of National Importance, declared by the Act of Indian Parliament.
Prof. Banik obtained Masters’ degree and Ph.D. degree in Mining Engineering from Moscow, Russia in 1980 and 1984 respectively. He was Associate Professor in IIT- Kharagpur and Professor in ISM-Dhanbad.
He has guided several Ph.D. and M.Tech students and published research papers in National and International journals. Apart from this, he had also carried out many R&D and Consultancy Projects.
He is a Fellow of the Institution of Engineers (India), a Member of ISTE and ISTD and also a Member of Global Engineering Deans’ Council (GIDC). He has travelled widely across the globe including USA, UK, Australia, Sweden, Germany, Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Italy, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and Singapore. In recognition to his contribution in Coal Mining Research and Effective Leadership as Head of Educational and Research Organizations, Prof. Banik was honored with ‘LIFE TIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD’ by the Indian Mining and Engineering Journal during its Golden Jubilee celebration in 2011.
Ques 1: Tell us about your experience working in the education industry. What makes it the best industry to work in?
Ans. I have come to the education sector not by chance but by choice, without knowing that this sector will have a status of an industry one day. My sole objective of joining this profession was to impart knowledge to students in such a way that they become patriots and nation builders. I started my career as a dedicated lecturer in a highly reputed and professional institute Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad. I also taught students at IIT-Kharagpur as Associate Professor. I was deeply into teaching and research in my area of specialization, i.e. Coal Mining without having a concept of education industry. Gradually, as I grew up, the era of open economy and globalization engulfed everyone in the society and I was not an exception. Privatization of higher education in addition to public sector was the only answer for development and growth in higher education. Then it became a business model and a very lucrative to industrialists, politicians and many individuals in terms of profit making and other financial criteria. I have worked in National Institute of Technology, Silchar, Assam as Director and observed that this model is very expensive in terms of expenditure per student due to less efficiency and bureaucratic hurdles. I had an opportunity to work in Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University in Gujarat as Director General (Vice Chancellor). This university was built under PPP Model. This was a new experience for me working with Dr. Mukesh Ambani as the President of the University and the Chairman, Board of Governors. Being the Vice Chancellor of Adamas University, Kolkata and subsequently the VC of AKS University, Satna, I have seen different models of Higher Education in fully private sector. After completing the full cycle of working in Govt.-PPP- Private models, I could realize that teaching-learning is most successful when full autonomy is given to teachers irrespective of the nature of the model. The education industry is the best industry because the service which we provide is for nation building. The key factor for survival in this industry is the quality of products, which can be achieved only when full autonomy is provided to true and dedicated academicians.
Ques 2: Being the Vice Chancellor of the AKS University, what are the significant problems you have faced?
Ans. The basic problem is its location. Satna is a small town and there is no air connectivity with metropolitan cities of India. As a result, it is not attractive for faculty members. Many times, it is difficult to invite academicians and industry personnel to our campus for interaction with teachers and students. The other issue is the necessity of minor amendments in Acts, Statutes and Regulations, which sometimes become hindrance to the set objectives of the University.
Ques 3: As Private universities continue to mushroom across the country, how does your university stand apart from others?
Ans. We try to ensure quality of teaching-learning, which is the sole parameter for survival of the university.
Ques 4: Throw some light on the teaching model adopted by your university.
Ans. Our teaching-learning model is very structured. All teachers, including myself as a teacher, prepare Teaching Plan according to syllabus and its credit well in advance. These are uploaded in MIS before the semester begins. Students are provided with Teaching Plans on day-1 of the semester, so that they can come well prepared in the class. Teachers follow the Teaching Plan meticulously and upload information on day-to-day basis in MIS. Apart from class-room teaching, we have facilities for Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC). This is in line with Govt. of India policy on digital initiatives.
Ques 5: How do you look at the placement opportunities offered by your institution and how do you plan to push the envelope further?
Ans. As I said earlier, we are located in a relatively remote place without air connectivity. In spite of this disadvantage, our Training and Placement Cell is doing a good job in placement of our students in various industries and organizations. We believe that our students will get jobs in the competitive market once they are good products in terms of knowledge, skill and analytical ability.
Ques 6: How do you manage to incorporate the spiritual dimension of human life as a part of your curriculum?
Ans. We have a separate Department of Spiritual Studies under the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. All students of the university, irrespective of their programs of study, have to undergo courses on Geeta, Quran, Bible, etc. as per their choice. We have established a meditation center, where students, teachers and staff members can de-stress themselves.
Ques 7: You have a Ph.D. degree in Mining from Moscow, Russia. How do you compare the quality of education and research in India with that of the other countries?
Ans. To be honest, I must say that there is a vast difference between education and research in India and other countries. I had opportunities to see and learn not only in Moscow, but also in Nottingham University, U.K., where I had undergone a course on Longwall Mine Planning. Apart from this, I had visited and interacted with many universities abroad, viz. University of Houston, Oklahoma University and University of Tulsa in USA, University of Alberta, University of Saskatchewan and University of Regina in Canada, Nan Yang University in Singapore, University of Wollongong in Australia, and many others. The problem in India is the mismatch between growth rate and availability of good teachers. The quality of finished product is directly proportional to the ratio of students and teachers, financial investment, quality of teachers and intake students, efficiency of teaching-learning and so on. In most cases, with few exceptions, we are far behind many countries.
Ques 8: How do you tend to establish a relation with the students being the Vice Chancellor of the university? How do you make yourselves available to them?
Ans. I have an advantage over many other Vice Chancellors in establishing a relation with students, since I teach regular courses and supervise projects like other faculty members. I come across my students in class rooms. Many students are connected to me through social media. In addition, I directly participate as a mentor in students’ activities. My door is always open to students. They can knock at my door and enter with any problem any time and any day without going through official procedure.
Ques 9: What goals do you have in your mind for your institution for the next few years?
Ans. I have only one goal in my mind to improve efficiency of teaching-learning system. Because, once the teaching-learning is improved, our quality of finished product will be improved and will have better marketability. If we fail, then we will perish.
Ques 10: What message do you have for students wishing to join AKS University in the near future?
Ans. We all are committed to build a new university in a rural sector, where teaching-learning is our primary focus in order to prepare our students capable of taking up challenges of society and establishing themselves as good human beings.Last Updated - 21 Jul 2017