Interview by Yash Panchal
Dr. Rajeev Sobti is currently the Head, Divisions of Admissions and Head, School of CSE at LPU. He manages all activities related to admissions. He possesses a rich 20+ years of experience in the education sector. Mr. Sobti has also worked as Lecturer/ Sr. Lecturer and Assistant Professor at LPU. He was also a Lecturer at Doaba College, Jalandhar and a System Analyst at Overseas Health Care Pvt. Ltd.
Dr. Sobti’s educational qualifications include BE and M.Tech. from Punjab Technical University. He has a Ph.D. degree in CSE from LPU. His areas of research are Cryptographic Hash Functions, Cryptography and Performance Analysis. He has published numerous research papers in journals and national/international conferences. He has also authored and reviewed diverse chapters in refereed books.
Dr. Sobti has been a visiting faculty at Ningbo University, China. He has attended around 15 relevant training programs for continuous learning. He holds the membership of many societies and institutions for Engineering and Research. RKC mode of operation designed by him is among one of the thirteen recommended algorithms for authenticated encryption mode by NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology), Security Division of US Department of Commerce.
“A teacher’s job is very challenging yet thankless”, Mr. Rajeev Sobti’s thoughts on the statement
The question has two aspects attached to it. I would address them one by one. Firstly, a teacher’s job is challenging: I would say if it is not challenging, it is not teaching. The underlying feature of the profession is that it always keeps one on his/her toes. Unlike students who take examinations once or twice a year, for a teacher, every lecture is an exam where there is no limit with regards to a number of questions or time and the success is directly proportional to the accomplishments of his/her pupil. In addition to this, a teacher is not only an academic mentor but also social & emotional facilitator to the student.
A teacher’s job is similar to carving a diamond out of a stone which certainly hurts but rewards are exemplary that is why a teacher is rated at par with parents so it is by no means a thankless job & I am saying this out of sheer experience.
The scope of CSE as a course and how it can be made better
There is a vast and extensive scope in the field; automation is the need of the hour, be it any industry, hence the requirement of quality computer science professionals would always be imminent. Having said that, I think there are still a lot of domains within the periphery of the discipline which is unexplored. Moreover, Computer Science is a field of study which is highly dynamic in nature. Being a technology-based branch, it is vibrant, so professionals who are into the field of computer science can never sit back and relax. They always need to keep abreast with the latest in order to survive & ultimately grow.
In the current scenario, it is a prerequisite that any educational institution offering professional programs ought to have close coordination with the industry to gauge their requirements and the academics should revolve around the findings of the two entities, be it designing the curriculum, training, etc. A gap between academia & industry creates a void as a result students find themselves out of place upon joining an industry due to a lack of synchronization between the two.
Changes observed in the educational field
I would say that the education sector has evolved and most notable is the role of a teacher. Since time immemorial, teachers have occupied a very significant role in our society. They have always been looked upon as prodigious personalities responsible for creating meaningful lives, by imparting knowledge which has been used for the betterment of mankind.
The current era is the age of information; it is readily available, merely at a click of a button. The scenario has, therefore, forced teachers to don the hat of facilitators ensuring an ecosystem wherein their pupils are exposed to relevant knowledge. In addition to this, a teacher today has been entrusted with a plethora of other roles which forces him to keep himself updated with aspects beyond his subject specialization. I would dare say that a teacher today is more of a student himself learning things over & above his/her domain.
Teaching is a wonderful profession, it is more of an art. I would want to see more & more students taking up teaching as a career.
Dr. Sobti on whether his research experience is helping him in improving the quality of the pedagogy
My area of research has been Cryptography which is my humble contribution to the society as a whole. This research, I did, has very little relevance in bringing about an improvisation in pedagogy.
However, the courses that I have explored on various MOOC platforms have helped me in improving pedagogy. In the current scenario, highly effective information/programs, available online from the likes of MIT, Stanford etc. help a lot. I personally prefer to enrol in these programs and also suggest my faculty to do the same. Pursuing these programs has given me an insight into the latest pedagogical trends being practised by the very best names in the academic circles of late.
Views on students being passionate enough for research
Research is complementary to academics and a lot of students today are passionate researchers working on a plethora of topics of personal interest. Having said that, there is another very inquisitive bunch of students these days involved with yet another very interesting field as exciting as research called “Innovation”. The term is more about value addition & improvisation to an existing concept and practical implementation of an improved idea. Therefore, I would say that a student bringing about innovation in an existing concept is as good as the one who is into creating a novel concept so if you are not keen on creating, try innovating.
An up-to-date framed curriculum framed at LPU
Keeping a student upbeat with the latest industry requirement ought to be a priority of any educational institution of higher education, or else he/she would be outdated even before commencement we at LPU lay special emphasis on curriculum development.
Framing curriculum at LPU is a synchronized effort of both in-house academicians & the industry professionals. These professionals regularly scrutinize our syllabus and suggest changes which are implemented as promptly as possible, moreover, another aspect related with it is practical training for which we have facilitated setting up of the center of excellence of various industries within our campus which are imparting the much-needed industry exposure to a student within the university premises. Care is taken that for all the alteration made in the curriculum corresponding training for the same are imparted to the teachers designated to teach those courses. This is further cascaded as train a trainer program.
Message to the students who wish to join LPU
My message to the students is short and precise: there are only two things in the world which for sure are persistent, one is change & the other learning and the two are also complementary, learning changes lives for good. So on behalf of Lovely Professional University, I would like to welcome students, who want to make learning a way of life be it within the confinement of a classroom, in the openness of a playground or merely while having a cup of coffee with friends.
I further appeal the students to experience a transformation breaking away from the conventional & obsolete methods associated with learning and be a part of a progressive & technology driven methodology of education at LPU.
Study tips for the students to perform better
I would urge students to study in order to acquire knowledge rather than merely passing an exam. Your knowledge is your best friend and would lead you to a meaningful life. Avoid taking shortcuts as rote education shuns it, chewing the cud is a waste of time & energy with no results. Stop living in a cocoon called comfort zone, it makes one complacent & an escapist. Lastly, one should always work on his/her sense of expression or else no matter how intelligent one may be, he/she can be termed as dumb. Best wishes from team LPU. Godspeed.