Interview by Sakshi Aggarwal
Prof. Alok Prakash Mittal graduated from Madan Mohan Malviya Engineering College, Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh in Electrical Engineering in 1978, did his post-graduation from Electrical Engineering Department, the University of Roorkee in 1980 and Ph.D. from IIT, Delhi in the year 1991.
Prof. Alok Prakash Mittal started his teaching career at REC, Kurukshetra as a lecturer in 1985, joined REC Hamirpur (Himachal Pradesh) as Assistant Professor in 1987. He returned to REC Kurukshetra as Assistant Professor in 1989, joined Chotu Ram State College of Engineering (CRSCE) (present DCRUST), Murthal as Professor of Electrical Engineering in 1997. In 2001, Prof, A.P. Mittal joined NSIT, Delhi as Professor and Head of Instrumentation and Control Engineering Division. He has guided 14 students for Ph.D. and published about 120 research papers in Journals and Conferences.
Prof. A.P. Mittal also worked as Member of Accreditation teams for accreditation of different technical institutes. Prof. A.P. Mittal was Chairman of Admission Committee at NSIT during 2005, 2006, 2010 and 2013. Prof. A.P. Mittal worked as General Chair for IEEE Conference power Electronics-2010.
Prof. Alok's experience in the education sector
I had been in the technology sector throughout. I did Ph.D. from IIT Delhi, then moved to REC Kurukshetra.
I feel that one of the prime areas in education is the student-teacher relationship. And l found this is the missing component in most of the faculty members. Although they are updated about the knowledge, transfer of knowledge is the prime thing, because if you are not completely with the students, then it is just a mere lecture and not teaching in its true sense. So, most of the faculty members do have the knowledge, but the transfer mechanism is not up to the mark. In AICTE, we are working on these aspects.
Changes noticed by Prof. Alok over these years and how AICTE has played an important role in transforming education
During last 30 years, especially after coming of the computers and digital systems in the field, things which were impossible to do earlier, have now become possible. For example, in electrical engineering, one of the most used machine these days is an induction machine. But, induction motor was not much in use until about 1970 because the technology was not available until then even after it is developed. It remained in the background mainly because it has very low-speed control units. But, with the development in power electronics, during last 50 years, and especially after development in computers and digital systems, power electronics also developed quite a lot. After this, induction motors with the help of inverters have replaced almost all other machines in almost all applications, today. Now more than more than 99% of the applications are based on the induction machines.
AICTE's criteria to analyze the performance of colleges and Universities
One of the main criteria is qualified faculty. In most of the engineering institutions, the qualified faculty is missing. In fact, they have got quite a good infrastructure, but they do not have really well-qualified faculty. The utilization of that infrastructure will only be the best when there is good faculty. We are looking after all the physical parameters also, like buildings, laboratories, etc. but all of these are secondary things. The primary one is that qualified faculty should be there.
Prof. Alok on why young educationists should join AICTE for transforming the education sector
AICTE till now has been mainly a regulating body. We are trying to transform it from regulating body to facilitating body. We are facilitating technical education in such a way that more and more qualified and quality faculty members are available in the institutions. So, we are working on the parameters and we are trying to do that facilitation by conducting new schemes like Smart India Hackathon. It is to learn to use creative mind and how to use our students to solve the existing problems of the government.
Prof. Alok on how Scholarship Schemes that AICTE is coming up with, are beneficial for students
A scholarship is beneficial for students mainly because there are still many sectors in the society which are below poverty line and not up to the mark for going for higher education or technical studies. So, for that purpose, scholarship is one of the parameters by which the talent can be really grown into the education field. For that purpose, AICTE has given many scholarships. One of the main scholarships that have been started a few years back is Prime Minister's Special Scholarship Scheme for Jammu and Kashmir. As Jammu and Kashmir is one of the areas where, because of the political crisis, education is still not up to that level. Because reaching to the villages and interiors of Jammu Kashmir is very difficult. So, for that purpose, even people are not coming out. So, the main motive of that scheme is that people should come out of their state and go to the education field in other places in India and improve their education so that they can improve the facilities in J&K.
Steps being taken by AICTE to retain students within the Indian education system
The basic difference is that in the foreign education in developed countries, the overall level of education is little higher. That is mainly because of resources. They have got better resources. In India, we have been compared to many countries, but still, the developed countries have their own infrastructure which is not available in India to every person. And that is one of the main reasons. So, we are trying to develop the infrastructure in such a way that more and more people get educated.
Prof. Alok's insights on the initiative started by AICTE i.e. Smart India Hackathon 2018
Smart India Hackathon is basically about how creative minds can be developed and how this creative mentality of the students can be utilized to solve the existing problems of the government sector. In Smart India Hackathon 2017, we have seen the results. It was very successful. For this year, more than 1 lakh entries have come and we are working on it so that more and more people should be involved, more and more creativity should come over, and the students' knowledge may also be utilized for solving the government's problems.
Prof. Alok on importance of portals like Collegedunia.com for the education sector in today's time
Portals like Collegedunia.com work for providing knowledge to the students, availability of education fields and how they can get admission to various sectors. For this purpose, I think it is very useful to develop such types of portals.