Designated as the Chancellor of RNTU Bhopal, Santosh Kumar Choubey, is widely recognised for bridging the IT literacy gap between urban and rural India. He is also the Chief Managing Director of All India Society for Electronics and Computer Technology (AISECT). Though he cracked the civil services exams in the ’70s, his desire to get IT into the hinterland was so overwhelming that he formed AISECT in 1985 in Bhopal. Today, the academician presides over an education network with over 8,500 centres that have produced over 10 lakh students in semi-urban and rural area.
In an exclusive interview with Mayank Kothari, the academician shares his views on the education industry in India and its rural areas, throws light on RNTU Bhopal and more.
Thoughts on education industry in India
The education sector in India is poised to witness major growth in the years to come. Higher education system in India has undergone rapid expansion. Currently, it is the largest in the world enrolling over 70 million students while in less than two decades, India has managed to create additional capacity for over 40 million students. India has become the second largest market for e-learning after the US. The sector is expected to reach US$ 5.7 billion by 2020.
The distance education market in India is growing at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of around 11 per cent since 2016. Moreover, the aim of the government to raise gross enrolment ratio to 30 per cent by 2020 will also boost the growth of the distance education in India. The education sector is one of the best investment arenas in the country. This industry is still in the development process and has an extensive requirement of emerging innovative start-ups, if one considers the opportunity to invest in online and distance education, the market size is probably among the top 5 industries in India.
Definition of a Leader by Mr. Choubey
I believe the most important trait of being an educational leader is to have full faith in their students and the power of education. If you do not believe in your students or your colleagues, then everyone is doomed for failure. It is vital to believe in what your institution is trying to accomplish each and every day, and to convey your enthusiasm for change, your own motivation to make things better, and your confidence in those around you.
Your words and actions directly impact morale—show others your passion for education, and they’ll feel it too.
Major Challenge faced in the education industry
When I first entered the industry, I was appalled to see people in the remote corners of the country stuck in the vindictive maze of skills deficit. It was alarming to see the helplessness of rural people with regards to their livelihood options owing to the lack of avenues for skills in local/regional language. It was then that I decided to let go of the comfortable lifestyle options I had, having cleared the Indian Civil Services Exam as well as the Indian Engineering Services Exam.
I moved back to my hometown Bhopal, with a dream to promote science and technology at the grassroots level in the country. My biggest challenge in present scenario is to find faculties who have great potential towards learning and can also lead the student in the right direction for their career.
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Curriculum of AISECT Group ensuring best practice of industry
Our curriculum involves innovative concepts for the students so that they feel motivated by the new methods of teaching. It provides the students with great opportunities and exposure to various new technologies evolving around us. Our curriculum also includes many co-curricular activities to enhance student’s talent to make them explore different practical aspects and be the change for the society.
We try not to leave any stone unturned by grooming their personalities so that they do not hesitate in taking upcoming challenges of life. The main aim of our curriculum is to enhance the skill set of the students by introducing various new courses that students are unable to find in other colleges. Although courses may vary in duration, subject matter or level of understanding but a systematic process will help you plan and structure your course syllabus to effectively reach desired goals.
Changes noticed in the Education Industry over the past years
There has been a drastic change in the field of education in India. Education system has witnessed a great extent of development in the past few years. There is an increased investment in the education sector and this has led to the mushrooming of educational institutes across the country.
The challenge is to ensure the quality of education. The Literacy rate in India was recorded as 74% in 2011 census. India is now ranked at number 3 after China and the US in the field of higher education.
Online education in India is an advantageous system that aims at delivering education to the students via internet. This can simultaneously be done with one’s present job. Thus, online education is one kind of a revolution in the field of education system.
Distance education is also one of its own kind beneficial forms of learning that aims at helping students who cannot attend regular classes. Adaptability and cognitive flexibility are important skills needed in the future workforce. Not only do these skills come in handy when dealing with unexpected circumstances but they show employers that individuals are ready for whatever may come up in their job responsibilities. The ability to access and analyse information are important skills needed by corporate in the future.
Mr. Santosh’s idea of an Ideal Institution environment
The ideal classroom is a positive place where a student can come to work toward specific goals set before them in the class objectives. The teacher has to be positive, organized, outgoing, confident, and compassionate. The ideal environment is where the teacher uses innovative forms of teaching. The instructor often sets the tone for the entire classroom. If the students are encouraged to be positive and work together to complete a task, then institution culture becomes more positive.
In here, we work really hard to make the curriculum relevant to the lives of these students and focus on what they learn as they grow up to step out in the world. A student success is a complex idea and measuring it must be accomplished with many tools. We try our best to provide them with all that we can to ensure the development of kids not only in the educational aspect but in another extra curriculum also.
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Goals for AISECT for the comings years
The basic goal of the group is to deliver purposeful education, helping students to not only get academically strong but become a better human being in future. The specific goals include:
- Provide education even in remote areas by setting up more such universities so that people can get access to quality higher education.
- Strengthening Online Education Assessment model is one on the priority list which will change the society in a better way.
- Setting up more industry relevant Centers of Excellence for wider industry exposure & research which can help students get practical learning.
- Working towards popularizing Hindi and other regional languages by setting up departments of different language in the institution is again one of the major goals of the group.
Suggestions to young generations
Students should challenge themselves every day for getting the best out of them. This practice keeps students motivated. Students should start believing in themselves and they have the power to succeed, and will find ways through different obstacles.
Overcoming fear is not easy, but it can be done. Face your fears so that you can convert your fears into success one day. The world is full of great ideas, but success only comes through action, so start believing in action.