Oriental University has just completed a decade as a private university and it would be good to know where you stand and how has the journey been?
Our journey of the last ten years has been very interesting. We have managed to make a special place for ourselves by providing the best of resources and options for higher education to a student.
We started with the objective of bringing together multiple colleges of various streams in one campus, offering top-quality education. As we obtained university status, we became more independent in decision-making and could implement changes quickly.
Along with good infrastructure and fully equipped modern laboratories and workshops, we invested in highly experienced and skilled faculty. They were instrumental in making our curriculum more competitive and industry-ready.
We have a strong focus on all-round student development – improving their skills and employability, making them industry-ready, inculcating good values and discipline, etc. This, along with various industry ‘tie ups’ are few things that make me happy for the journey so far.
Established universities also struggled during the pandemic to conduct seamless teaching. How would you describe the challenges faced by Oriental University and how did you overcome them?
Pandemic times were truly challenging for all of us and it forced us to adopt many changes and innovations. Shifting to online mode and keeping students motivated to attend online classes was the biggest challenge.
Many students faced problems getting access to a device and internet connectivity. We managed to transfer to online teaching, but lack of a proper system forced us to experiment a lot, initially.
We worked hard with our existing IT infrastructure and ensured that everything possible was done to safeguard our students. They were permitted to join classes or take offline exams from the security and comfort of their home.
This experience has ultimately made us all better prepared to handle any such crisis in future. We have invested heavily in our IT infrastructure and are making it more robust. Now all our classes are -Smart Class ready.
One positive outcome of the pandemic is that now students have realized the importance of digital classrooms and the benefits that this mode can offer.
What is your vision for the University as it is the first private university in Indore?
My Grandfather’s vision for Oriental University is what I ultimately aspire for. No Indian University, be it IIT or IIM, has managed to get itself into Top 100 Universities in the world yet. We are striving to achieve this goal. I know this is not easy, but we are ready to put in the work and resources required for this.
Indore, being the financial capital of Madhya Pradesh, is strategic to our plan as it is seeing amazing growth in all sectors. From IT services to automobiles, from textile to Agro and Food Industry, it is also fast evolving as an excellent education hub. We aim to be the link between the fast-growing industry and academia by adding more ‘tie-ups’ with industry leaders, to modify our curriculum and groom our students as per industry requirement.
How do you perceive the contribution of industry to the progress of education and at what levels can collaboration be done?
Industry’s demand for technically competent and skilled workers is one area where they must work with Universities. This is happening now, but more work is required in this direction.
Universities can help in imparting the required knowledge and skills to deliver ready to work professionals.
With ever-evolving technology and complex processes involved, this coordination process between industry and university needs to be seamless and more cohesive.
This would help them in saving huge cost and time that gets wasted in recruiting and training manpower etc
Could you tell us about your own journey as an academician and an administrator?
I have learned so much in my time with the University and yet it feels like that the journey has just begun. Since its inception we have been on an epic journey with the aim to provide top quality yet affordable education to our students.
One major difference I observe nowadays is that students think thoroughly about their choices and do not hesitate in choosing their stream of study as per their passion and belief, instead of giving in to parents or peer pressure.
Many new unique and fascinating career fields are now on offer and are chosen with full confidence by students. This makes me certain that we can broaden the scope of education further, by offering more skill based and industry ready courses.