Interview by Sakshi Aggarwal
Ms. Sanjana’s academic qualification include B.Sc. Chemistry Hons. from Bombay University and B.Ed. from Annamalai University. Ms. Sanjana is working as Executive Director of Polytechnic for Women since the year 1993.
Ms. Sanjana’s experience in the education industry
I have been in this industry for 24 years for now. I am heading the International Polytechnic for women which is one of the premier Institutes for vocational education in the country. We provide courses in the areas of Design, Management and Technology. I think this is the best area to work in because there is a satisfaction when you see your students doing very well in the field of their respective areas. They come back to us and tell us how successful they are, how well placed they are and how their college has helped them to achieve their dreams. In that sense, I would say it is the best industry to work in.
Ms. Sanjana’s philosophy of leadership and her leadership style
For the staff, I lead by example. You can only expect from others, if you do it yourself. Try to be punctual, regular and dedicated. These are the qualities, I want my staff to have.
When it comes to students, not only they learn from what you teach them, but they also learn by example. So, if the teacher or the people they see around themselves have certain qualities, they imbibe those qualities from them. We appoint staff that have good communication skills and have polished personalities so that students can imbibe those qualities. This is because we are into vocational education and all the students will be seeking jobs in future for which they need to have these two essential things.
Significant challenges faced by Ms. Sanjana as the Executive Director of Polytechnic for Women
Education is an ever-changing field. We witness frequent changes here in the fields like Fashion, Interior, Textile or Journalism. There is new technology and new trends in these fields. We have to keep those trends in mind and imbibe those in our syllabus, see what other institutes are offering and be on the same level if not better. These are the skill-oriented courses that we run, where the students need to have up-to-date knowledge of all the areas so that they can get good jobs when they leave.
Ms. Sanjana on time management
Time management has become more of a habit now. We have campuses all over Delhi now, so one has to plan in advance for all of them. If I have to visit three campuses; I just plan my day in advance and achieve it if I intend to.
Curriculum at Polytechnic for Women
The curriculum is redesigned every semester for which we have an Advisory Council from the industry, from different fields. They give practical suggestions to various Head of Departments which are imbibed in the syllabus. From time to time, sitting faculty also come to give their suggestions. Like I said, the syllabus is up to date according to the industry demands. So, our students are capable of competing and getting the jobs which are there in the industry once they finish their courses.
Growth of students through placement opportunities available at Polytechnic for Women
We have been in this line since last 40 years. So, there are many organizations which contact us when they have vacancies. If we talk about nursery teacher training, we have best of schools which contact us whether it is Modern School or DPS or Goenka’s or good play schools. And if we talk about office management, even Government organizations like BHEL, BSES, etc. contact us to send students and come for campus placements.
Likewise, we have many examples for courses we have. One is that we have been into the industry for very long and since we have given them very good students over the years, so they come back to hire our students and give them the preference. The other is that we also have new tie-ups with the industry and every year we send our students for internships there. Most of them get absorbed in the same place and get jobs there and we have our own placement cell dedicated for this.
Ms. Sanjana’s relationship with the students
I am highly available because I think I have one to one relationship with almost every student. I am mostly around in the front office and highly accessible. If the students have any problem, they are most welcome to come to me and they do that as well. I do not sit in an enclosed cabin and inaccessible to the students. There is no chain via which they are required to come to me. They can come to me directly and I like doing that. I keep in touch with my staff and students so that I know what is going on and if there are any issues, I can deal with them.
Ideal school environment according to Ms. Sanjana
Since it is a Vocational College, there should be a lot of workshops, a lot of practical oriented classes, and a lot of stress on personality development because they are going to go out in the industry and work and good communication skills. All this is a part of all the courses that we run. It is not that they just come and study and go back, but do a lot of practical work. They need to go out in the industry and see people working, learn by training over there and learn the work practically. They are also subjected to a lot of personality development workshops. Communication skills is also a part of all courses so that they are able to polish their skills, body language, etc.
Goals in mind for Polytechnic for Women for the next few years
Goal would certainly be that we should be one of the best in the area of vocational studies for girls. We have started a co-ed campus in Dwarka. One of the goals is that we should also be able to attract male students. There are boys who are unable to find good institutes offering education in skill-oriented courses like Fashion, interiors and Journalism, etc. So, we are looking at growth in there as well.
Suggestions for the current youth and the aspiring students
There are many options and youth of today is very confused. I would just like to say that they need to figure out what exactly they want to do which should not be influenced by any peer pressure or by anybody else in the family or friends. They should just focus on what exactly they should do and pursue that with all their focus on it so that they can achieve that. Institutes like us can help you, but only if you are focused and you know, what you want to do. If you are going to be confused between 3-4 courses and different areas, then that’s not going to lead anywhere. If you are focused and believe in your dreams, then you’ll surely be able to achieve them.