Interview by Sakshi Aggarwal
Chancellor of The Neotia University, Mr. Harshavardhan Neotia has been conferred with the Degree of Doctor of Literature (honoris causa) by the Vidyasagar University recently. He serves as the Honorary Consul of Israel in Kolkata and holds other esteemed positions such as the post of former Chairman, CII-Eastern India; Member of the Board of Governors of IIM Kolkata; Member of the Board of IIT, Kanpur and Kharagpur; Former President – FICCI; Member of Board of Trade, Government of India; Member of Rajasthan Foundation and Nathdwara Temple Board; MEMBER of World Residents' Organisation and also Member of Heritage Commission, Government of West Bengal.
Mr. Harshavardhan on why he chose to get into the education sector in spite of being successful in various other sectors
My forefathers came to Kolkata over a hundred years ago and today, I am proud to belong to this vibrant city and claim it as my native place. My uncle, Suresh Kumar Neotia and my father, Vinod Kumar Neotia were co-promoters of Gujarat Ambuja Cements Limited. We have also played a leading role in Eastern India in the fields of reality, hospitality, and healthcare.
My foray into education has been a natural corollary in finding some of the best talents for the gamut of industries that already exist and what the country is gearing to look forward to in the near future. Most of the institutions of higher education still teach the subjects which were useful in the 60s and 70s. While at TNU, we are ensuring that education provided is contemporary to help the young workforce of our country remain relevant in future with their knowledge and skill. With this in mind, we have brought in Robotic Engineering, Energy Engineering, CSE with Specialization in Cyber Security/Data Analytics/Cloud Computing and Bioinformatics within the reach of the students of Eastern India. Our vision is to ensure that our alumnae emerge as ethical, intellectual and professional stalwarts who will contribute not only to their jobs in their chosen fields but also to our society and country.
Mr. Harshavardhan’s journey so far in the education vertical
The Neotia family started its journey in education with Neotia Institute of Technology, Management and Science (NITMAS), previously known as Institute of Technology and Marine Engineering (ITME). It was established in the year 2002, affiliated to the then West Bengal University of Technology, which is now known as Maulana Abul Kalam Azad University of Technology (MAKAUT).
The Neotia University (TNU) was established vide the West Bengal State Government Act XXIII of 2014. Though TNU is relatively new in its present configuration, it has its antecedents in the 15-year old institution. TNU and NITMAS are the two dynamic endeavors of the Ambuja Neotia Group in the field of education. While NITMAS continues to offer long-established conventional courses to the students in West Bengal, TNU is primarily reaching out to a much larger audience, offering highly advanced futuristic courses in various fields of Technology, Maritime Studies and in other general areas of education.
Efforts made by the team to make The Neotia University an inclusive one
We believe that no student should be stopped from pursuing their passion or achieving their full potential because of financial difficulty. At TNU, we offer numerous merit-based as well as need-based scholarships to ensure that no student is left behind. TNU provides seven types of Scholarships for students based on their, H.S. MARK / JEE RANK, Yearly Family Income, Siblings of all Students - Present or Passed out, Group Employees, Students from Gram Panchayat area of South 24 Parganas, State / National level Sports Championship, State / National Level Cultural Championship.
Pros and Cons of The Neotia University being located away from the city
There are positives and negatives to venturing far away from home for University. A student living in her/his residence in a city may face challenges in living a hosteller’s life. But, studying in a college far away develops courage and skills to pick up and start life over somewhere new and different that will serve well later in life when good job opportunities might not exist right on your doorstep.
A student earns 24*7 academic environment, under the guidance of in-house faculty members, on choosing a University away from hustle and bustle of city life. TNU is spread over 55 acres of lush green, beautifully landscaped campus, which is not possible to obtain within the city. The four sections of campus are scholastic buildings, sports pavilion, socio-cultural arena, and administrative block. We offer a rather impressive array of facilities to enhance students’ life at the campus.
As an entity that fosters the teaching-learning experience, our objective is also to build a township for students to provide them the peaceful environment for holistic development.
Mr. Harshavardhan on how TNU stands apart from other Universities
Both TNU and NITMAS are diligent to the pursuit of excellence and aim to attain holistic development of its students by fostering a truly inspirational academic environment. Both ensure that the education provided is contemporary and experiential through the partnership with industries and other academic institutes. Keeping this in mind, we have brought in courses which will cater to the requirement of emerging industries.
At TNU, we follow the Choice Based Credit System to develop a student’s both left and right parts of the brain. This enables students to take an elective that they wish to take up alongside their core courses. For example, a student studying Energy Engineering can take up psychology classes as his/ her elective. In today’s context, a balance between both types of thinking is essential for professional and personal success. Following a systematic training, approach has been shown to help activate both sides of the brain, which is TNU’s prime goal.