Interview by Bhawna Rawat
Mr. Taranjit Singh is currently working as the Managing Director of JIS Group Educational Initiatives. He is widely acclaimed across Eastern India for his path-breaking and visionary contributions in moulding the future generations of modern India through his pioneering role as a catalyst and corporate leader. He heads the largest premier education service provider in Eastern India, having over 26 Educational Institutes, with over 126-course programs and an over 35000+ students currently enrolled in these diverse academic programs. His visionary efforts were crowned with success through various awards and accolades like the most prestigious Mother Teresa International Award in Education category, Gurukul Award - Kolkata for his lifetime achievement by Lions Club Kolkata, the ‘Game Changer of the Year 2015 – Business’ award and so on.
Mr. Singh has taken an active role in promoting various business initiatives across multiple sectors such as Dairy, Iron and Steel, Logistics, Transport, film production and so on, other than the educational sector. He has held and continues to hold several key positions on various Regulatory and Professional Boards. Currently, he also holds the positions such as the President of Association of Professional Academic Institutions; Chief Patron of Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Member of Indo-American Chamber of Commerce, Indo German Chamber of Commerce, Confederation of Indian Industry, Indian Foundry Association and so on. JIS Group, under his leadership, sets a realistic agenda of sustainable development of the company to keep pace with their business processes in order to generate an overall positive impact on society.
The present scenario of the Education Industry
Actually, I am involved in the education initiatives for the last 21 years, and I’ve seen a lot of upheavals in these years. I’ve seen that the upkeeping of the quality of education is becoming a major part of the Education Industry since basically, it is the sector which caters to the potent workforce for the industries. So, the industry is looking for the students who are capable of developing and fulfilling its demand.
The Education Industry is acting as a bridge between the students and the Industry.
I think the Education Industry will usher in a colossal change in terms of the pedagogy, infrastructure and the syllabus particularly. So it is imperative for the education industry to focus on effective capacity-building.
Education industry provides good faculty members who particularly use the training methodology for developing the skills among the students like industry-friendly mental setup and fluency in communication. All these skills groomed by the institutes enable students to face the working ethos confidently.
My Philosophy of leadership is focused on students and faculty
Actually, for me, leadership means to guide the students as a coach. As the President of APAI, for me, leadership is when I am taking care of my students or when the students are being guided by us. Leadership means taking care of the students and motivating them to develop their skills. So, I'm taking care of all my staff, faculty and infrastructure. So, to provide the student with the best resources, to cultivate their own potential and of course, to guide them in this course we as their mentors would navigate them to a bright and successful future.
My leadership style is that things have to be really focused when I am doing something. Suppose, if I am running in a Marathon then I will focus on just running to become the first person to reach the finish line. So, basically, my philosophy of leadership is to focus on the things, which are required to achieve the goal and at the same time, I try to make out the gap between me and the goal so that when I'm talking about the students I can have a broad mind to understand what they require and what they need to nourish themselves with, to become very good students and future citizens, who would uphold the dignity and pride of the country and follow through with their duties.
Significant challenges and responsibilities dealt with by Mr. Singh
I had to face a lot of responsibilities and challenges given to me so as to make sure that JIS University is what it is today. To be honest, one of the challenges that I have faced was building a university which would be recognized by the Government bodies like UGC, AICTE, etc.
The Second challenge, which I had to face was to decide how the infrastructure would be at my University as a centre of Excellence. What does the centre of excellence mean? It means certain parameters. It means that the faculty members must be very qualified, with industry expertise, recognized Publication, Ph.D., patents, etc. so that they can motivate the students to become a pioneer in their field.
So, initially, these were the challenges we had to face. Now, the challenge which I have to face and also in which we are getting good results is how to place the students in good industries rather than giving them the random placements. Obviously, my experience extends up to 20 years, with the education initiatives. So, keeping in view that the norms and procedures are quite contrary to other public universities, I keep on playing my role honestly.
The curriculum preparing the students to be Industry-ready
We are implementing the curriculum in a way that the latest things have to be included in the curriculum. For example, when we are executing the CSE or Computer Science at the Engineering level, apart from the conventional courses, we have tried to add some Cyber Security Course, Robotics Data Analytics, AI, IOT etc. So, such subjects are included in the curriculum so that the student has the domain knowledge to apply for the companies they are going to work for. Hence, industrial practices are included in all the branches so that after three or four years when the student steps into the industry market, he or she would know or rather be prepared to utilize their academic input in their job experience.
Steps taken to prepare students for performing their best in the Placement Drive
Placement is a common criterion for every private Institute but making sure that the students sitting for those placement opportunities succeed in getting appropriate jobs is possible solely by maintaining the quality. For that, we have to keep a watch that they are regularly attending classes with 60% to 75% attendance so that they could get the domain knowledge thoroughly.
What we do differently starts from the 1st year, 1st semester. Our well-trained placement people groom the students with proper placement training. We have a placement training cell which has two segments, one being central and another is institutional. The Central is exposed to the entire market outside and interacting with Industries and Companies for which they gather and decide on how to devise the curriculum so that the student is groomed in a proper way.
And the second segment is for monitoring things on a local level. What they are doing is that they are organizing the placement training, language learning, internship industry visit, etc. and everything else which makes the student understand the Industry needs. To summarize, as I have said, the two-level activities, one is central and the other is local.
At the same time, the faculty is instructed to monitor the training of the students. With this entire plan, I am glad to announce that this time, we have achieved over 80% placements in our college.
The top qualities that an aspiring engineer must possess
See, I understand that there is a lot of population of students who are going for an Engineering course but it is never a hard and fast rule that a student either has to be a Doctor or an Engineer. Considering the scenario which was there years back in terms of demand and supply where Engineers were very less as well as the colleges which produced Engineers, the demand was a lot more. Now, coming back to the present age we have so many colleges which are producing Engineers and now the supply is a lot and at the same time demand is less. To be an aspiring engineer you have to pick up the right college to understand which college is unique to boost you up to become a prolific Engineer with ample resources to conquer any challenge in the industry.
To define the top qualities, I would find three types of students. First one is the student who can get numbers in examinations and papers but when the time comes for them to put their experience and knowledge into work they lose their confidence or rather their numbers hang heavily in their workplace. So, a student aspiring to be a successful Engineer should enrich himself/herself with the skills to be fit in the job world.
The Second category of students includes those who wouldn't read that much rather they wouldn't be getting the right marks but have the mindset or rather the intelligence to tackle a real hand experience. It is a good quality but at the same time without a basic knowledge of a functional architecture, these students fail to bring their intelligence to fruition.
So, a student possessing both the above-stated qualities is ideal for Engineering as he would have the basic knowledge to understand the architecture of things and the intelligence to execute it into its application.These students know how to learn, lead and execute along with which they have the thirst for innovation.
The goal to make the University a Smart University
My target is to make the University a Centre of Excellence and making it a smart University. For a Centre of Excellence, there are parameters like NIRF ranking. Obviously, one needs to update the parameters right now, for different awards and accolades so that one is recognised by the government educational bodies as well as a private one as a Centre of Excellence.
The second part, a smart University means a learning methodology which is more student-centric. In this regard, a student in a class is observed individually and the first thing that is pointed out is the gaps. So, here we devised an entire plan that the students would be sitting with their smart devices and recording the audio or the lecture which is going on in front of them and later they can watch the entire lecture when they are not in the class, for which they can bring the doubts and questions in the very next class. In this way, their peers who have missed classes can also gain insights into the lecture through the videos which the other students have recorded.
We are making this usage of the recording device essential so that it can be shared among all the students and they can learn anytime and anywhere.
Suggestions for the students to come out of usual career doubts
For an aspiring student, I would suggest looking at the entire Educational career with a focused mind so that the doubts that clouds the mind disperse.
As you would recognize you need to get the support from your parents, faculties, colleagues or friends to glean that essential stuff that would help build one’s career. So, I advise you to be careful while understanding your part to pick up skills and knowledge with which you can be a responsible citizen of the country and make everyone else proud of you.