A seasoned entrepreneur and educationist, Mr. J C Jain strongly believes that the life values are the pillars on which the foundation of personal and well as professional success can be laid. He has seen several phases of technological growth and academic changes. In this conversation, he tells about the way in which the pandemic impacted the system, the roadmap for growth of his institution, and shares his guidance for the younger generation.
Being in the leadership position in the academic world, what do you think about the changes that have come in the ways of delivering education over the past two years?
To answer the first part of this question, we have a huge gap as a country in the domain of education. The people who are decision makers and design the courses for the Universities are not adequately updated about the needs of the students and industry. The technological world is growing faster than ever. Education also needs to be updated on a regular basis. While the Universities in the western world are inclined towards the practical knowledge, India is still relying on the theoretical aspect.
While we have seen mushrooming of both private and government colleges across the country, there is a distinct disparity between them when it comes to resources allocation. Any student who graduates, must be employable from the first day. But this needs specialized courses as well as heavy investment. Though the government is taking some steps, they are not adequate.
Coming to the second part of the question, regarding how has the pandemic impacted students. It came out of the blue and the students were not prepared. They have now become somewhat complacent as they have not been able to attend the classes as required. The assessments have also suffered a lot, all across the world. We have, however, been able to manage the situation.
The college has been running up-grad or value-added programs since a long time. These are run in collaboration with industry experts and academicians from national and international universities. They provide frequent lectures to the students. Apart from this, we have a unique Centre of Excellence, which houses specialized technical education and training for students, including data acquisition, refrigeration, computing learning, missile launching systems and many more advanced courses. The students can get the learning hands-on. So, this has helped us keep up with the learning despite the pandemic.
What is your vision for the growth of the University of Engineering and Technology Roorkee?
I have always believed that never be part of the crowd. That is what I want to impart to the younger generation. The world is changing at a very rapid pace, and the students must keep up with it. They must not only be employable, but also excel at what they do. They must be able to choose their domain of work. We have in place several collaborations with universities in the US and other parts of the world, where our students can go through exchange programs. Online lectures from them are provided seamlessly.
Apart from that, practical training in the labs of these universities, and access to other resources is valuable. Students can access the virtual libraries also at any time. We have set up the IT labs with high performance computers. In each domain there is specialized training. For instance, for graphic and animation, which is a significant field of study, we have unique labs for training and skill development. So, in the next five years, we will have one of the most robust infrastructures in the country.
You have been conferred with several awards for your contributions to education and industry. How do you perceive a collaboration between both for mutual benefit?
The collaboration with industry players is in place and is it highly beneficial. For us, the presence and exposure of the industry alongside the academics means that students can choose the domains that they want to enter in the workplace. The industry players are also informed about the strengths of our students and it leads to optimum placement of all students. This collaboration will help us grow in a remarkable way.
The industry appraisal and training have to go simultaneously. Our students go for practical training in various industries, but there is scope for enhancement. There are some industries that give an exposure to the emerging technologies. So, collaborations, whether it is with industry or other higher education institutions certainly adds value. This is an ongoing process and we will further boost it.
Tell us about your experiences as an entrepreneur.
I started my journey in the industry in around 1975, when India was very young and there were hardly any industries. We set up the industry at a very small level. There were no financing institutions, and banks were not aware how to finance small scale institutions. But progress was happening slowly and some technologies were developing. I have been in different fields and it has been a rewarding experience. India has grown manifolds; our leaders have contributed much. The first prime minister contributed radically to the industrial growth, and then all governments have supported the growth. I was born in 1947, the same year that India got freedom. There is a lot that has been done, and still a lot to be done. I’m always looking forward to see young entrepreneurs achieve something great. There is a large gap between the western world and us. The new generation will help us bridge that.
How has your work as an industrial leader helped you to develop the academic ecosystem?
The end motive of education is to get employable and earn a good livelihood. My exposure to the different segments of industry has given me an insight into how this can be done best, as I understand what is needed for the industry. I always give the biggest thrust for upgradation. We all need to grow and upgrade. The women who work at home and take care of the family, teachers at schools, education systems, factory set ups and machinery, all need to be upgraded for a more productive future. The information flow has to be all around.
One needs to be aware of not only the technological aspect, but also the ethical aspect, values and social aspects. A child who is a topper need to necessarily be a good human being; there has to be development in all spheres of personality.
You are also engaged in the spiritual and philanthropic pursuits and have been recognized for your contributions. What role does this aspect play in your life and your success?
There are a lot many things that nature has given us, and they are beyond technology. We often believe what science has told us without thinking. Though I am a custodian of technology, I think that science has its limitations.
Our ancient books by our gurus have much more knowledge, which, if followed appropriately can benefit a lot. I would wish to start a branch of study beyond science, related to our ancient wisdom. There are some natural facts in life that are followed in every household. Nature has given us everything. It is up to us how we use it and get energized by it. Nature has given us the methodologies too. The people who believe only in science may not trust on this, but there is a lot that we can attain from these domains.
Each one has to see where they are lacking in their field and then work towards getting better, doing value addition. They must also develop their own brand, by knowing what are their strengths.
What will be your message for the students who aspire to contribute to the technological development of the nation?
Everyone must utilize their time in an optimum way for one’s own personal and professional growth. They have to divide their day and plan the activities that they have to do. Each one has to keep upgrading their skills to perform better in every field. I must know the requirement of my employer and be prepared accordingly. There are many youngsters who criticize their employer, but they have to understand what the employer expects from them. We have to perform what is expected from us. For that life values are important. They are the pillars of life that have to be followed for success.
Nowadays youngsters are not adept at facing life challenges. They have many plans, but their faces are blank and they are devoid of spiritual direction. So, they need counseling for finding the right way, and realizing their potential.