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Shri Vaishnav Vidyapeeth Vishwavidyalaya - [SVVV], Indore

Indore, Madhya Pradesh UGC Estd 2007 Private University
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"Human values are respected everywhere", believes Prof. Upinder Dhar, VC at Shri Vaishnav Vidyapeeth Vishwavidyalaya. Read the full interview here..

Ques 1. You are the Vice Chancellor of Shri Vaishnav Vidyapeeth Vishwavidyalaya. Before that, you have been the Vice Chancellor of Amity University as well. Kindly tell us about your experience in the education industry and what makes it the best industry to work in?

Ans. In education, what is important is quality, and anywhere the quality is taken care of and where merit is respected, such institutions are doing fine. But many institutions where compromises are made, such institution are not doing well. Every year, say 200 to 300 institutions are closed, we analyze which are these institutions? We find that they are all substandard, and the quality is not the parameter at all. Therefore, first warning that we have is that no institution should compromise with the quality of education. When we say quality that means in terms of faculty, number two in terms of fair educations based on merit, number three proper infrastructure, number four updated and relevant syllabus. Syllabi should be prepared not only for today but also for time to come. So, if these parameters have been taken care of, then such institution would prosper.

Ques 2. You have managed various institutes. What is your philosophy on leadership and how do you describe your leadership style?

Ans. Leadership style in any good institution, in any good educational institution, has to be team leadership. There always has to be teamwork, you cannot be autocratic. Everybody needs to be taken along. So then only, in a balanced way, one can lead. So, team leadership is the answer.

Prof. Upinder Dhar
Prof. Upinder Dhar
VC, Shri Vaishnav Vidyapeeth Vishwavidyalaya

Ques 3. In one of your university website’s page, you have stated, “The Indian higher education system is the second largest in the world but still the educational institutes are facing several challenges”. What are these challenges you are talking about you?

Ans. These challenges are the faculty of the university. On one hand, the number of institutions is increasing and hence any institution advertises for the faculty position. There is a depth of applicants or candidate but there is no depth in suitable candidates, suitable faculties. So, one of the major challenges is to get the right faculty, the second challenge is those who are already there have to be retained. Retention challenges should have a continuous procedure for their development, only then the faculty can be retained because without good faculty you cannot involve much as a good institute. You cannot have the quality of education, that is why one has to attract good faculty and one has to retain good faculty. Both are big challenges.

Next is to get the students placed. Because placement should not be a problem if the institute is able to impart right and updated information.

Ques 4. You've authored more than 560 publications and 29 scholars have been awarded Ph.D. degree under your supervision. But people are not too much into research these days. What advice do you have for the young and aspiring research scholars?

Ans. This is also a challenge in itself because research is very important. If you see the world rankings, there are three agencies which rank the university or educational institution across the world. Since this ranking system started, none of the Indian Institute is taking top 100 spots. If you do the analysis of a set of 20 universities or institution in the world, one of the major strengths that they have is research. Almost all of them can claim noble laureates of their own, which is not so in Indian contexts.

One should go for the meaningful research and the challenge here is that these days the work is not up to the mark, more of kind of cut copy paste of work which is the limitation of technology, that is the internet. Therefore, the challenge is to see that no cut paste kind of work is done. Original and good work is done which can be cited and can be trusted anywhere in the world. So that is also a challenge in itself. Therefore, without good research, without relevant research, no institution can make a position on the global graph. It is essential to create new knowledge and that new knowledge can be created through research only. The challenge is to see that research is done by following a proper methodology.

Ques 5. Since your University has students coming from all sort of cultural, backgrounds and all states, how do you build a positive culture or climate in your institute?

Ans. This is a very good question. We have people from diverse background and with different kind of tendencies. Therefore, you need to have a platform wherein people can be identified. One of the important things is universal human values. Human values are same everywhere whether it is East or West, human values are common. For example, sincerity, transparency, honesty. These values are respected everywhere, whether in east or west or north or south. Therefore, we need to create an environment in an institution so that the student realizes the importance of these values in life.

So that's what we have done in our university. We have made human values and professional ethics as a mandatory or compulsory course for everybody irrespective of the stream of education. The task to is to have some values everyone can identify, something which is just common and these values are common. They are having the universal appeal. They are not restricted to a particular region or a particular country.

Secondly, there has to be a culture, there has to be a climate within the institution that can give opportunities to students to unleash their talent and skills. This means they should be having the opportunity to think with their right brain also. Right brain thinking is as important as left brain thinking. Therefore, they need to be creative. If they are creative, then only they can be innovative. Creativity needs to be promoted. If creativity is not promoted, then there will be a kind of half development. For the full development of the students, it is necessary to grow their creative skill also. So, creativity needs to be promoted.

There have to be individual differences. Every student may not be equally creative, so on one hand with this value system or by teaching values, we are bringing them on a common platform where they can identify each other. At the same time, we are giving an opportunity to them to look different, to be different and to solve the problem differently. Hence, both are equally important.

Ques 6. Being the vice chancellor, it is obviously not possible for you to address each student separately to give them time. So, how do you tend to establish a relation with the student? how do you make yourself available to them?

Ans. No, I am always available. We have an open-door policy and we don't follow any kind of bureaucracy in the institution. So, anybody can approach. Anybody can access my number. There are a large number of activities happening in the institution. So, in most of the activities, there is an interface between the faculty and the student.

Also, I teach myself research methodology, which is compulsory for all the research scholars irrespective of the discipline. The intention is to be in the direct touch with the students so that they can have access. Therefore, having an open-door policy, equal opportunity is given to everybody if he/she wants to express something. So, these attempts are made to remove the barriers.

Ques 7. The major problem that students are facing these days is placement. How do you look at the growth of the student through placement at your university? How do you wish to push the envelope further?

Ans. In placements, I don't see an issue. The syllabi and curriculum are designed in such a way that what is taught is relevant, not only for today but relevant for tomorrow also. For example, what we are teaching today that is relevant even after four years when the student has passed out. For example, today we are teaching Internet of Things. This may not be very relevant in Indian context today but by the time the student will pass, or say after three or four years, Internet of Things is going to be a common kind of activity. New devices will be used, which will be based on this.

The point is placement should not be an issue if students are made job-ready and they can be job ready only if updated constantly and continuously syllabi is taught, number one.

Number two is, if we focus on the overall holistic development of the student, we also develop relevant skills. Skill development is equally important. For example, presentation skills. Besides knowing the subject, if they have developed good presentation skills they should be able to crack any kind of personal interview or any kind of such practice. Then comes analytical skill, they should have developed such skills in the institute. That's what organizations are looking for. Therefore, overall development of the student is important. If students are developing in such a way, then placement should not be an issue.

The institute-industry relationship is equally important. We need to continuously have the corporates, have the senior executive on the campus. That's why there are series of activities which became a kind of platform on which people from industries are invited where they interact with the student and student gets the opportunity to interact with them too. Placement is the outcome if the input is done well and the process is done well, so the outcome will also be well.

Ques 8. How does your university curriculum ensure best practice of industry?

Ans. How is the curriculum and syllabi of the institution developed? It is the process. There are different bodies which get involved in developing the syllabi and curriculum.

For example, the first level is called the boards of studies. So, the board of studies is as per the discipline, as per the subject. In our case, on each board, there is a representation of not only academic experts but also the involvement of industry experts is there. The professors are also there and without fail, there are people from industry on each board. Therefore, they share their experience and they share what they are looking for, what they expect from the pass out students after say two years or three years.

An impression is given by these experts on each board of studies about which way the industry is going. Even on academic council also, we have experts like that. This has been done intentionally, so that's a constant blend happens. Our faculty doesn't only get the advantage of the experts of academics but also from the people who are from industry. Because ultimately, it is an industry which gives job. So, this way we are ensuring that whatever teaching is done will be relevant not only for today but for tomorrow as well when such students pass out. So that is the way we are doing and that's how it should be done. In every institution, there should be a good representation of the industry.

Ques 9. What goals do you have in your mind for the university for next few years?

Ans. Every year, we are trying to introduce some new programs. The intention is that we should create new opportunities for the students and teach what is relevant today as well as tomorrow. For example, last year we introduced engineering management, an MBA program in engineering management, and now we are introducing B.Tech program in Railway Engineering which is not taught anywhere in the country. At present, we are introducing B.Tech in CSE with specialization in big data analytics. Similarly, in mobile and cloud computing, we are offering these programs in association with IBM so that sufficient industry input is there and the students are job ready as soon as they pass out after four years.

Then we have introduced another program B.Tech in avionics which is basically a combination of aerospace engineering and electronics. Also, MBA in agri-business. This is not simply MBA teaching on HR finance and marketing or operation but also molding it in such a way so that the applicant of management can happen in the agriculture sector. We are also going for MCA in the banking sector. People are shifting very fast, very quickly from the currency note to the electronic money. Therefore, we need to have people who can handle it in the banking sector. So, we are offering MCA in the banking sector.

So, programs like these which are not offered everywhere but there is great scope for the student to prepare themselves and get their jobs tomorrow. Further, we are also increasing entrepreneurship so that those who pass out from the University do not end up only as job seekers. The country also needs those who can create jobs; job creators.

Ques 10.Any suggestion you would like to give to the current youth and the aspiring student of your university as well as the entire youth of India?

Ans. My simple appeal to the younger population is that they should not use any program just because some other classmate is going for it. They should choose programs based on their personal interest and aptitude, number one. And number two, they should choose that program keeping the scope of that particular stream in mind. They should be able to take right decision because the right decision can lead to the bright future. Once the decision is taken, they cannot reverse it if it was wrong. Therefore, career decision should be taken very carefully and not based on what his or her classmates are going in for.

We need to understand that our country has the largest population of the working age group people. That's why we say Young India. We have larger working population than countries like UK, US even China. Also, as we have a demographic dividend. That means we have an advantage. But it can become a disadvantage if you do not go for right education and right skill development. Also, the accomplishment of new knowledge is very important. They should go for good programs and they should choose a good institution. Because institution also does matter and in the times to come, it is the Indian youth that will be managing the company and the industries anywhere in the world. We’ll be seeing the days when Indian youth will be managing more and more companies and organization in US and UK and every other country, because of this demographic. But for that, our youth needs to prepare themselves.

So, while making their career decision, they should choose the right institution number one and number two, choose the right option, that is a stream of education and number three overall development is a must. Number four, cross-cultural abilities are also important. They should be able to understand other cultures. So many scams and other things are happening these days. Students need to realize the importance of the values. Where ever they work, these values are very important.

And at the same time, overall development is very important. They cannot afford to be bookworms. They need to go to classrooms and involve themselves in various activities which are not prescribed in this syllabus but these activities facilitate in developing the skills of the student.

 

Last Updated - 07 Jul 2017

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