Showing posts with label India’s Most Visionary Edu Leaders. Show all posts
Showing posts with label India’s Most Visionary Edu Leaders. Show all posts

Sunday, 15 January 2017

ReThink India - Visionary Eduleaders of India


Personal Vision for the Institution Headed Last

As Vice Chancellor of ITM University (now The NorthCap University) during 2011-2014, a number of transformational initiatives were taken which were intended to bring in research culture in a private university, which in general is handicapped due to lack of research support from the industry and the government.
  • Vision, Mission and Core Values of the university were established.
  • Faculties mentoring scheme, 
  • Flexible timings, 
  • 360 degree like faculty performance appraisal system, 
  • VC innovation fund
  • Recognition of best teachers,
  • Researchers on 5th September each year were some of those initiatives.
  • Attracting, retaining good faculty was priority area for my attention.
E-governance,zero tolerance against delays on academic deliverables, extensive inspirational meetings with faculty;benchmarking with best practices of better known institutions were attempted andit made a visible impact of ITM (now NCU)’s brand equity.

Set up an Academic Advisory Board comprising of some most well-known and eminent persons fromthe academic, scientific and industrial world gave us a powerful Think Tank as our direction indicator.Leveraging locational advantage and transparent systems, more collaborations were established.
How Prof PremVrat likes to see India’sEducational System unfurling and playing a lead role in defining & determining the national discourse?

Indians are extremely intelligent people. Its demography is also favorable to pay rich demographic dividends. Indian parents can do whatever sacrifices it takes to afford a quality education to their wards.These are positive environmental factors to nurture Indian education system.If we do not convert the demographic dividend by ensuring 100% employability to our young population, it may become demographic disaster.

We need to match brilliant minds with equally brilliant mindsets to impart 100% global employability.This can transform the development agenda of the country. It will produce outstanding individuals; scientists, engineers, doctors and others who will contribute to India’s growth and development and also be sought after globally to support other economies of the world.Thus focusing on creating world standard education and producing great minds who are also great human beings can put India into the category of ‘vishwa-guru’ once again.

We also need to shed Macaulay mindset by over-recognizing foreigners and ignoring scholars of comparable caliber who chose to remain in India.
Prof. PremVrat’s candid evaluation of the direction & demeanor of the current disposition and his objective critiques & suggestions for improvement across the spectrum

Current scenario of education at all levels- primary, secondary and tertiary is far from being quality driven, learning-centric, affordable and employability oriented. In number terms-particularly the technical education it has grown almost exponentially but its quality has taken a back seat.Commercialization of education has attracted huge private equity participation but due to lack of perceived quality and employability it is now experiencing a boomerang effect. Enrolments in engineering and management schools have gone down to the level of where it was in 2008.

Prof. PremVrat has written extensively on different occasions to control this decay to avoid major catastrophic outcomes in higher education. Undue focus on monetary/profitability issues in private owned institutions and apathy on the part of stakeholders in publicly funded institutions are a cause of concern. Over-regulatory approaches rather than nurturing, mentoring, hand holding and facilitatingrole of regulators is aggravating the situation further.

Education in India is in the need of major surgery if the demographic dividend potential is to be realized- sooner than later.

Teacher has to be made the fulcrum to leverage quality in education. A great inspiring teacher-at all levels of education can transform the future of society.

Teachers can’t be considered as employees but important contributors to the nation building process.

Being an IITian of 54 years standing which symbolizes excellence; Prof. PremVrat has prescribed the role of teacher as ‘IIT’: Involve Inspire and Transform.

Thus great inspiring teachers are critical success factors in quality education. An inspiring teacher can do wonders to the class in the talent nurturing process provided they love the job that they do.It is only possible if society creates environment when the best and the brightest of the society joins teaching and research as a preferred career option.Right now it is the other way round. To reverse this trend is a major socio- economic challenge.

There is currently an acute shortage of great inspiring and dedicated teachers in the country.In US/Canada, there is no age of retirement of a teacher. In our country due to policy paradox, even talented teachers retire on attaining a particular age –which should actually be no more than a number. Yet there is 25-30% of faculty shortage in even India’s most elite institutions. Thus talent shortage and talent wastage due to ‘expiry date on talent’ are happeningsimultaneously which does not happen in the best systems in the developed world.

We could therefore benchmark the best practices of reputed universities worldwide.We should also provide a level playing field between government funded and privately funded institutions.In USA, some of the best universities are in the private sector.We should also correct the distorted priorities in educational management in private or even publicly owned institutions.The correct priority in our opinion is- quality of faculty;quality of teaching-learning process; quality of academic leadership; quality of admissions;quality of infrastructure, alumni relations collaborations with academia and industry;focus in sports and cultural events in that order as ranking.

Any distortion in these priorities must be corrected if Indian education system is to excel.

Even world class buildings with mediocre faculty will not result in excellence.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

India’s Most Visionary Edu Leaders - Prof Prem Vrat


Predictions & Striving

Prof. PremVrat has strongly believed that unless, the best and the brightest of the society join teaching and research as the most preferred career option, the quality of education in general and technical education in particular will not improve.The faculty quality is the most critical success factor in quality of education.He has also been strongly advocating that in the end, only quality driven educational educations would survive.

With this in mind, he has been persistently following with passion to enhance the quality of education.

At an individual level, he is personally engaged in teaching and research for more than 48 years.

It also conveys that being a professor should be more respectable than holding an additional administrative job such as director or Vice-Chancellor. With this in mind, he has always been engaged in directly teaching, guiding research writing books and research papers despite holding top academic ranks as director at IIT Roorkee and IIT Delhi and Vice Chancellor at UPTU and ITM Gurugram.It sends the right signal to academic world that teaching is the most respectable among various jobs.

He has also been predicting that unless we make our young population globally employable;the demographic dividend potential might turn out to be demographic disaster potential.Hence making our education quality driven to enable 100% employability should be our goal.If they are employable, employment will come, if not even if employed they may not be able to hold on to it.With this he has written; lectured and researched on the need to ensure 100% employability to our graduates to reap the demographic dividend.

He has developed a model of employability


Where E= Employability, A= Attitude, K= Knowledge, S= Skill, ∝=relative importance of knowledge over skill (between).A software has been filed under copyright to enable employers to use this model to improve the quality of hiring decisions. This applies to all types of courses.
We also need to have a wider focus on IT. IT to him could be much more than ‘Information Technology’ if we interpret and nature IT as ‘Indian Talent’.

Persistence of Pursuing

Prof. PremVrat's conviction in improving the quality of teaching and research for past 48 years has resulted in great personal satisfaction as a teacher and researcher leading to 39 international quality standard PhD degrees being awarded under my guidance and 3 are under submission.

He has published more than 450 research papers with google scholar citations of more than 4950.
He has written 7 books; guided 118 M.Tech and 65 B.Tech projects; conducted 33 industrial consultancies.

This success on academic front is due to his persistent passion for past 48 years to personally excel in teaching and research so that it can sense as a role model to rest in the institute. This has done wonders in his contributions to educational institution building process.

Transformation of IIT Roorkee as its first director, quality focus and transformation in UPTU and major quality driven changes in ITM as its Vice Chancellor are the testimony of realizing the outcomes of persistence on ensuring academic excellence.

Cauldron of Conviction

Some anecdotal examples of calculated risk that he took in his long academic journey in teaching, research and institution building are given below.  In hindsight he believes that those calculated risks were worth it.

Punctuality & Personal Integrity

I have focused on two personal attributes since my childhood-punctuality and personal integrity. Despite being labelled as ‘embarrassingly punctual’ by some, this trait has helped me in at least converting some people to become more punctual; it has enhanced my image in general and people take me more seriously.

I did not give up on this count though I may mention in lighter vein that I must have spent 3-4 years of my life in waiting-waiting in class for students; in meetings for members to assemble and in conferences for sessions to begin. But I take that as a premium for practicing my values.

It was only in AIT Bangkok where I was Division Chairman that my President, Prof. Alastair North a British noted and appreciated in me being always the first to be in meetings.

My second focus on integrity was a risk worth taking. One’s your image travels faster and people knew that if it is merit driven, case; no need to pursue with him because it will be done in normal course. And if it is not merit driven no need to pursue with him because it will not be done. Hence I had hardly any interference in my work; my telephones have been remarkably silent even as IIT director or Vice Chancellor. But the risk I took and have willingly accepted it is that I do not get frequently approached for any favour. As a side effect, I do not get nominated to important policy or selection boards because of this perception. I am fine with it.

Patience, Determination & Calculated Risk

I was invited by President of AIT Bangkok, to take charge as Professor and Division Chairman. On the very first day of taking charge, there was a major fire in the Computer Lab of the Industrial Engineering Division and it caused heavy damage to the lab though there was no causality. On first day; such a huge loss did not disturb me though some felt it could be a sabotage as I had been asked to come from India to chair the division. Ignoring all rumors, and some motivated concerns on environmental issues arising out of burning of asbestos etc.; I led the division with courage and honoured all the staff and students who helped in fire control and ignored the scare from rumor mongers. After a month of rescheduled venues for meetings and with full support of almost all in the faculty, the normalcy was restored. Patience; determination and calculated risk proved to be worth it.

Strength of Conviction for Search of Excellence

In the process of transformation of erstwhile university of Roorkee to IIT Roorkee; many calculated risks were taken which were based on the strength of conviction that in search of excellence those decisions were required.Eventually those decisions turned out to be the game changers. Amalgamating 5 different employees unions into a single union, replacing students union with Students Affairs Council on part with SAC of IIT Delhi were some very difficult but required changes where risk was worth taking. It proved to be great help in pursuit of excellence.