Interview by Bhawna Rawat
Prof. (Dr.) Priya Sepaha is presently holding the position of Director, Department of Law, Oriental University, Indore (M.P.). She is the professor of Law and an experienced Director with a demonstrated history of working in the Education Management industry. She holds the degrees of M.A. (English), M.Phil (English), LL.B and LL.M (Criminology), and is UGC NET qualified teacher. She is a registered Ph. D. guide also. She did her Ph. D. (Law) from Jamia Milia Islamia, New Delhi. She has skilled in Criminology, Criminal Law, Personal Law and Torts, along with allied subjects like Communication Skills, English and Contemporary issues.
She is also a Senior Peer Reviewer in ECPEL Conference Japan, Member of Reviewer Committee HSSMR, UAE, Member of Editorial board of WASET, U.S.A., Member of Global Research and Development Services, Member of Editorial Board STM Law Journals, Member of International Scientific Committee and Editorial Board on Law and Political Sciences, International Science Index and Member of Scientific Technical Committee and Editorial Board on Arts, Management and Social Sciences, International Scientific Academy of Engineering & technology (ISAET).
She is a passionate writer on various aspects of Criminal Law, Criminology, Penology and Victimology. She has written books titled, “Penology and treatment”, “Comparative Cr.P.C.”, “Probation and Parole”, “Collective Violence and Criminal Justice System” and "Privileged Class deviance". She has also written many articles/research papers on Psychopaths, mentally ill criminals, gender issues, crimes against women, surrogacy, incest, sexual abuse etc. in many National and International Journals/ conference proceedings.
She has presented papers in many National and International Conferences, distinctively in Harvard (USA), Oxford (U.K.), Cambridge (U.K.), Brighton (U.K.), Singapore, Bangkok and Khon Kaen University (Thailand). She had the distinction of being the Keynote speaker at the International conference held at Cambridge. She has also chaired the sessions at International Conferences held at Oxford, Cambridge and Bangkok. She was adjudged the best presenter at the International Conference held at Singapore.
She is awarded by Swami Vivekananda Excellence Award 2017 in the field of Academic Administration by World’s Achiever’s Foundation and Confederation of Indian Universities, Delhi, awarded for “Environment Protection and Development 2017” by Scientific and Environment Research Institute at World Clean Environment Congress 2017 and “National Teaching Excellence Award 2017” from International Benevolent Research Foundation.
Experiencing the different aspects of the Education and Law field
I strongly believe that 'Education is the most powerful weapon that can be used to transform the world and make it a better place to live'. I had started my career as a visiting faculty (English) when I was pursuing my M. Phil. just for some experience but gradually, I started loving teaching, and ultimately it has turned out to be my passion. However, after completing M. Phil. (English), I pursued Legal studies and obtained Ph. D. degree in Law. My first appointment was at Raipur and subsequently, I got an opportunity to teach both at graduation and post-graduation level at Indore, Bhopal, & New Delhi.
I believe that if you have a passion for learning you never cease to grow. Learning and then disseminating the concept and content of what you have learned to the students, in an easy and assimilative manner, is the most challenging task one encounters both as a student and as a teacher. Imparting education and the field of academic & administration throw up new challenges every day, and in order to cope up with the role and responsibility of a motivated and informed educationist, you have to update your knowledge and skills.
My profession has facilitated my desire to indulge in research work and writing. Fortunately, first of all, this has helped me to present many research papers at International Law Conferences organized by various institutions notably at Harvard, Oxford and Cambridge. Secondly, it has enabled me to hone my writing skills to the extent that some of my articles have been published in leading International Research Journals. Last but not the least, it has allowed me to write a few books on various aspects of Law. Collectively, all this has provided me with an exclusive exposure to national and international perspectives on various aspects of legal knowledge and teaching.
After having briefly narrated my experiences in the field of education during the past 20 odd years, I would like to stress, that I believe that I still have a lot to learn, as learning is an ongoing process.
Motivating the team members so that they perform their best is my leadership style
A clear vision, honesty, a strong sense of purpose and direction are the keys to success. I believe that I tend to pursue the teamwork style combined with the proper delegation of duties on the one hand and strategic planning on the other. By empowering the team members and acting on the feedback, the task of the team leader becomes easy, as this inspires all team members to be more responsive and accountable. Keeping this in view I always motivate others (faculty, staff and others) to try and do more than what is expected of them. By bringing this into practice, they will eventually achieve a stage where they will be able to complete challenging tasks with greater ease and typically achieve higher performance levels.
My motive is to help the individuals associated with my workplace to inculcate a set of habits which entail, fairness, competence, creativity, courage, intelligence and honesty. My strategy is to facilitate all my team members realize their potential and upgrade their skills, which is ultimately beneficial both for the organization as well as the individual.
Improving the quality of education has been the major challenge
The Oriental School of Law was only two years old when I had joined the Oriental University. Five major courses were running at that time, namely, LL.B (Hons.), B.B.A. LL.B, B.A.LL.B (Hons.), LL.M and Diploma. The student enrollment, the quality of education, the need to expose students to practical ways of learning, the recruitment of qualified faculty, the timely conduction of exams, improving the academic atmosphere, establishing new benchmarks, drafting appropriate rules and statutes, in sum an overall revamping of the academic scenario, were some of the challenges which confronted me when I accepted this new assignment.
Living up to the challenge, firstly, with a view to improve the quality of education, we recruited experienced and qualified faculty in appropriate numbers. Secondly, resolute efforts were made to make the team members achieve the goals set for them. Certainly, all this required a combination of micro and macro planning to achieve the targets. Always keeping the attention focused on the objectives, desirable hard work and determination to make the department attain upward growth in an ever-increasing competitive environment, were some of the key factors that helped me to achieve some of the goals that I had set for myself when I had accepted the present assignment.
The Oriental School of Law imbibes a culture of justice in young professionals
Law is an ongoing & continuous process. In order to understand the intricacies involved in the legal learning process especially in this dynamic situation, it is very important to seek admission in a reputed law college for obtaining exhaustive knowledge and overall proper grooming. Today, the legal profession is one of the most rapidly growing and lucrative profession, all over the world, especially because more and more nations are giving precedence to the rights-based approach.
The main motto of Oriental University is not only to impart good knowledge but churn out good professionals. In furtherance of this objective, The Oriental School of Law was established to bring about intellectual awakening and overall development of youth by imparting quality education. The Oriental School of Law aims to be a self-sustaining institution of higher learning and research imparting quality legal education transcending national boundaries which is intellectually stimulating, socially vital, enhances human dignity and imbibes a culture of justice in young professionals.
Technology has brought a number of changes in the Educational sector
Education is the premise of progress, in every society and in every family. The aim of education is knowledge, not only of facts but of values as well. Legal studies are not only confined to theoretical knowledge but require in-depth practical knowledge as it deals with some of the most delicate and complex parts of human behaviour.
In recent times of technology-based education system, the use of computers, onset of smart classes, powerpoint presentations, easy access to e-mail, etc. has led to far-reaching changes in both the mode and content of teaching. Students have wider access to physical aids of teaching in college premises as well as the virtual world as they are most of the time connected through social media. On one hand, the revamping of the traditional methods like - Seminars, Guest lectures, workshops, industrial visits, court visit, mock trial, moot court, etc. has helped in the overall grooming and all-round development of the students.
On the other hand, easy availability of online courses and distance education system are some of the prominent examples of the new emerging trends which are transforming the field of legal knowledge.
Students go through internships and training to learn the professional skills
The Oriental Group is known for the best placements records since its establishment. All the students of Oriental University, Indore undergo compulsory internship programs in various companies, courts, commissions, institutions etc. depending upon the courses and their area of interest, which provide them with an opportunity to evolve as true global Citizen.
During training, the emphasis is given on a broad spectrum of activities for students’ overall academic and personal development
The mentors attempt to refine qualities such as the ability to learn quickly, versatility, performance as team players, analytical skills, and most importantly positive attitude through which they can bring about qualitative and quantitative changes to their jobs. It is pertinent to mention that The Law Department, in general, trains students intending to take the competitive exams, and in particular, by conducting special classes, for those appearing for the judiciary and allied exams.
Continuous interaction with the students helps in building a strong student-teacher relationship
Education is the key to success in life, and teachers make a lasting impact in the lives of their students
Knowledge is power and information is liberating. Knowledge and command over the subject are some of the essential skills through which teacher always commands respect and discipline from the student. Apart from this, it is also necessary to have a passion for teaching as that always helps you to acquire updated information, which you can pass on to your students and motivate them.
Although I am quite busy with lots of academic and administrative work still I manage to teach at least one subject or take some special classes because teaching is my passion. When passion becomes your profession it becomes the main driving force behind the teacher-student bond. However, I have always ensured that the students are comfortable to approach me for the redressal of their grievances. Continuous interaction with the students and assigning prime importance to their welfare are some of the cardinal principles of amicable teacher-student relations.
An ideal environment has interactive classes with proper decorum
I feel quality education, both of our children and of ourselves, is one of the most important things today, at which we should aim at. The objective of any academic institution should be to impart both theoretical and practical knowledge in the most enabling atmosphere and in the easiest to assimilate manner. There must be two-way communication in the classes, it should be interactive. The student should see a guide, philosopher and a friend in a teacher with whom he can discuss the details of the subject. Maintaining proper decorum and discipline will certainly facilitate the overall process. Conducting the classes and other activities on time will infuse values which have a long-lasting effect.
Apart from imparting knowledge from bare acts and textbooks, the emphasis on providing students with the skill-based education like Moot Court, Advocacy skills, mock trials, judgment writing, presentation etc. will go a long way in not only producing excellent professionals but worthy human beings.
The top qualities that an aspiring Law student must possess
In recent days, the legal profession has become one of the most demanding professions due to its varied scope. The qualities which I think any Law student should possess are; good communication skills, good observation, meticulous research work, great analytic skills, honesty, perseverance and creativity.
I see OSL emerging as one of the top law schools in the next few years
The Oriental School of Law aims to be a self-sustaining institution of higher learning and research in quality legal education which is intellectually stimulating, socially vital, enhances human dignity and imbibes a culture of justice in young professionals. It cartels innovative teaching and pioneering research in a highly collaborative environment that transcends traditional academic boundaries. It provides student and faculty exceptional opportunities for intellectual, professional and personal growth. I see OSL emerging as one of the top law schools in the next few years.
Suggestions for the current youth and the aspiring students
“Successful and unsuccessful people do not vary greatly in their abilities. They vary in their desires to reach their potential.” – John Maxwell
In my opinion, there are no shortcuts to success. If you want to do something wholeheartedly, you will find a way, otherwise, you will find an excuse. Never say you don’t have enough time because you have exactly the same number of hours per day that are given to others.
Perhaps our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.
You have to accept the challenge before you can achieve the goal. Every aspiring youth should at the start do a SWOT analysis and then set up his/her goal in life after reasonable thought and sufficient self-introspection. He/she should feel free to consult his /her confidants and guides.
After having the firm resolve to achieve the target, I believe that the right goal, the right way, meticulous planning, full-hearted efforts and self-confidence are the key to success.