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Director of IIMT College of Pharmacy, Dr. Mallikarjuna B P shares valuable insights on importance of soft skills in the present job industry. Read the entire article below.

Dr. Mallikarjuna B P
Dr. Mallikarjuna B P
Director, IIMT College of Pharmacy

Dr. Mallikarjuna B P is currently the Director and Professor at IIMT College of Pharmacy. Prof Mallikarjun began his research career in the year 1996 at the government pharmacy college Bangalore, working simultaneously in medicinal chemistry and neuroscience with a strong orientation towards neurology and oncology. His early research focused on chemical modification of the psychiatric drugs.

Ques 1: Kindly tell us about your experience in the education industry and what makes it the best industry to work in?

Ans. The teaching profession is the face of an education industry that fundamentally does the common good of society. Education is the key to social advancement-for breaking cycles of poverty, creating prosperity, promoting peace, and many other things that give hope and meaning to our experiences as individuals and members of society. At the end of the day, it all starts with a textbook and a teacher you love. Teaching requires you to step out of yourself in a way you may have never done before, and through this, you learn about yourself as a teacher and as a person. You may learn more about how you work with others, particularly with children, and better understand how to communicate effectively and teach efficiently. You can learn how to better handle stress, and the organizational skills you’ll gain from planning lessons and grading assignments will be invaluable Teaching is the most common career path in education; it’s really just the tip of the iceberg. The industry closely reflects the economy at large, constantly keeping pace with new skills and knowledge needed by growing sectors. People with an interest in education are in high demand to consult for educational institutions, to create, develop and market educational products and services, and to invest in new educational ventures. Want to test your creativity? Challenge yourself, and make a difference.  Look no further.

Ques 2: Any of the significant challenges you faced in IIMT College of Pharmacy?

Ans. The greatest challenge I’ve faced in IIMT till date has to be the key role I played in helping my organization survive the slump in student enrollment.  The institute was undoubtedly ill-prepared for the advent and impact of the low enrolment of students; their financial reserves were just too weak.  After a spate of redundancies, those of us who were left facing an uphill struggle to keep enrollment levels up and cost down while maintaining our standards of education and reputation.  I learned a great deal from the experience. It was a great challenge.  While we certainly did have a tough time of it, we successfully rode out the difficult days and the necessary measures which I personally devised and implemented ultimately resulted in significantly healthier growth prospects of pharmacy education at IIMT.

Ques 3: What goals do you have in your mind for IIMT?

Ans. In the near term, I would like to develop IIMT organization as one of the best possible learning centers as much as I can, about the role and about how I can best serve the needs of the organization. I hope to create more of an excitement for learning among our student body by generating more enthusiasm for teaching among our staff and by demonstrating to the students the rewards of being academically active. Develop a stronger awareness of each teacher’s strengths and areas for growth through daily classroom visits, planned and informal discussions. In the longer-term, I would like to develop an organization to be excellent meeting up great ambitious teachers, who affect change and make a goal to help improve the quality of education for everyone. Create amigos for teachers who in turn willing to work in the excellent Institute where there are low teacher retention and impoverished communities desperate for committed, talented teachers.

Ques 4: Any suggestions you would like to give to the current youth and the aspiring students?

Ans. Soft skills have become very important in the present job industry, but they are routinely ignored in educational institutes. One of the major problems facing the fresh graduates is their insufficient understanding of basic concepts. The lack of in-depth understanding of technical information, lack of client-handling skills and insufficient knowledge across domains are the major skill gaps in the area. The ability to apply the concepts learned to constantly develop innovative things and find solutions to complex problems are main factors working behind the employability of a student.

Ques 5: How do you look at the growth of students through placement opportunities available at IIMT? How do you wish to push the envelope further?

Ans. Our current curriculum has scope for skill development.

  • We bridge the gap between industry and academia
  • Institutes introduce vocational courses as part of the main curriculum in college
  • A course of choice made mandatory for every student at institute level
  • More focus on practical education
  • Encourage innovation in ideas to support entrepreneurship
  • Hire training manpower (trainers/teachers) conductive the new age skill environment
  • Collaborate with corporate organizations to ensure industry standards in training
  • Create more platforms for knowledge sharing for the youth (on both technical and soft skills)
  • Encourage students to participate in skill competitions across the world and make a mark for themselves

Ques 6: How do you tend to establish a relationship with the students?

Ans. Youth need relationships that are both caring and stable. They need to build a sense of trust and have the time to communicate the complexity, frustrations, and positive aspects of their lives in and out of school. Only after creating a strong relational base will an adult have the platform to be a source of enduring and cherished advice to a student. Students won’t confer trust to an adult based on his or her role as a counselor, psychologist, or social worker. We have to earn it by building a relationship. From the base of a caring relationship, we can help students form a realistic and reachable career, personal, and educational goals. This does not imply that the goals are not challenging. The most motivating goals are those that are within our reach if we exercise some effort. Only someone who knows a student well and cares deeply about his or her well-being will be able to help that student from reachable goals.

Ques 7: Tell us about your path towards attaining the positions of the elite?

Ans. I am bringing my personal and professional experiences, my knowledge, skills, and abilities to establish a strong and faithful relationship with student fraternity. I plan to work diligently to master the duties and tasks of the position and the performance objectives established by my authorities and myself as well as embrace every opportunity to grow with the organization.

Ques 8: How do you build a positive school culture or climate?

Ans. With all the talk about the importance of engagement, it’s possible to lose sight of exactly what leads students to have a feeling of being engaged. The feeling of being engaged in a setting or group happens when students have opportunities to receive positive recognition and to make positive contributions, can spend time in environments in which teamwork is encouraged, and get help learning new skills that they find valuable and helpful in their lives. Engaging settings in the school and the community have logos, mottos, missions, and other tangible things that allow students to experience a sense of belonging and pride.

Ques 9: What are your takes on Education being digitalized?

Ans. Education is changing. For many of us, where our student learns, what they learn and how they learn is very different from what we experienced at college. As our world keeps changing we need our young people to be confident, creative, connected and actively involved life-long learners. We need an education system that supports the development of values, knowledge, and competencies, and sets them up to do well in the world. Digital technologies are an important part of student world. Students use them to connect with each other, to learn new skills and pursue their interests further than has ever been possible. Digital technologies can enable:

  • learning to happen anywhere and any at any time, not just in the classroom
  • Connect and collaborate with other students and teachers outside their school and even across the world
  • Understand challenging concepts in virtual worlds that would not otherwise be possible
  • Easy access to the huge range of resources available on the internet to support learning (websites, apps and more)
  • Follow personal interests and talents and access experts not available to them locally.

Ques 10: What would be your ideal school environment, and how would you encourage that kind of culture?

Ans. We had a specific criterion that defines a positive school environment must include:

  • Norms, values, and expectations that support social, emotional, and physical safety.
  • People are engaged and respected.
  • Students, families, and educators work together to develop and live a shared school vision.
  • Educators model and nurture attitudes that emphasize the benefits gained from learning.
  • Each person contributes to the operations of the college and the care of the physical environment.

So, while creating a positive school climate is not easy, it’s also not impossible. When building a positive school climate, it is leaders’ values and vision and how much everyone else gets on board with those things.

It starts with trust which researchers say is an essential prerequisite to a more positive climate. The following steps are in part designed to build trust, mainly by giving teachers, staff, and students some say in the process—and leaders who guide the process must never miss an opportunity to prove themselves trustworthy and to facilitate trust-building between stakeholders.

Last Updated - 28 Jul 2017

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