Dr. Venkatesh A Raikar is the Vice-Chancellor of Sanjay Ghodawat University, Kolhapur. He started his career as a lecturer and moved to the position of Vice Chancellor. His hard work and enthusiasm to teach the future generation has brought him to this position in life. He firmly believes in democratic leadership; where others opinion matters. He has 24 journals and 13 conferences written in his name.
In conversation with Pranav, Dr. Venkatesh revealed the shortcomings of the education sector. And also explained to us how his University overcame or is planning to overcome these shortcomings. Edited excerpts:
Education sector is a service industry
According to me, the education industry is truly a service industry. For me, teaching is not a profession but a noble service. Here, we come across young minds and all we do is convert them into technocrats as well as real builders of the nation. Daily, I come across many young minds and I enjoy my time with them. Education is the field that gives me satisfaction.
Leader is someone who has proven himself in his domain
Who is a leader? The one who has proven himself in his domain. I call myself a leader but I believe in one word, ‘Super leader’. Someone who builds more leaders for the betterment of his institution. I believe in one sentence "criticize the performance and not the performer". A leader, in my opinion, should be someone who keeps his students motivated to do more work and bring out the best in every student.
According to me, there are two types of leadership approaches, one is top-down leadership and the other is bottom-up leadership. When it comes to Bottom-up leadership, this style must be followed in higher education.
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The purpose of higher education needs to be re-applied
Higher education is meant for three purposes, knowledge decimation, knowledge creation and knowledge application. Most institutes in India focus more on knowledge decimation. But, there is a need to focus on the other two purposes i.e. knowledge creation and application.
We, at Sanjay Ghodawat University, motivate students to spend more time in laboratories and working on their mini-projects. We encourage them to attend seminars organized by different institutions and to read the latest E-journals. We promote the usage of the Massive Online Open Courses available on the platforms like NPTEL and SWAYAM. This helps the students to learn the latest technologies apart from the classroom teaching.
Industry friendly and dynamic curriculum
Our curriculum is a dynamic one. Every year, we review our curriculum and change it based on the industry requirements. In our University, there are several verticals where students can apply after their second-year completion, for example, if a mechanical engineer wants to opt for Automobile engineering they can opt for the same without any issues.
Being aware of the new age technology and requirements is a must
According to me, every student should know about IoT, data analytics and business analytics. As these are the industry friendly subjects and hence, we have embedded it in all the disciplines.
Recently, we have established a centre of excellence C4i4 with the help of IISC Bangalore, IIT Delhi and the Government of India. In this centre, we will teach our students with the basics of AI, virtual reality, machine learning, IoT, analytics and many more. We have also thought of training vice-chancellors, directors and principals of the nearby institute. This way they will also know about the essence of these subjects. They will eventually try to inbuilt it in their curriculum too.
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Curriculum is designed under the guidance of industry experts
We have a dynamic curriculum. Every branch of our University has an advisory board, consisting of academicians, industrialists and entrepreneurs. What we do is, we showcase our curriculum to them and take their feedbacks. We listen and analyse their suggestions and include them in our curriculum as per requirements.
As technology is changing rapidly, we include or exclude a subject accordingly. I believe there is no point in teaching something that has no relevance in today's time. This is why we have adopted case-based learning and project-based learning as well.
Upcoming plans for Sanjay Ghodawat University
Within 5 years we would like to become the No. 1 university in Maharashtra. With this, I want to enhance the research and development activities and the innovations in our campus. As a Vice chancellor, I would like to increase the no. of centre of excellences, conduct more industry visits, more value aided training programs, more collaborations with premier institutes and laboratories of national repute as well as international repute. Lastly, I want to try for more funds from different funding agencies.