Adamas University is the crowning glory of your pioneering journey that started with establishing the Roy’s Institute of Competitive Exams (RICE) back in 1985 and then you made computer education accessible to the masses in late 1990s. Could you tell us about your journey that eventually led to setting up the University?
My journey of becoming an education entrepreneur began when an opportunity presented itself, and I was able to successfully seize it. After my graduation with honours in Physics, I studied computers and started working in a responsible position at a reputed information technology company. It was during this time, when few young graduates of my locality requested me to teach them mathematics for banking examinations. I agreed and started training them, rather informally, during weekends in my own study room. Within few months those students appeared for the examination conducted for the recruitment in centralized banks. All of them were successful. Thus, I found out the key to success in competitive examinations for the youths of Bengal – a systematic, well-planned training of all the subjects. Thus RICE Education came into being on 1st July 1985, at Belgharia. With students succeeding in cracking various tough government entrance examinations, the number of students increased, coming in for training from even far-away districts of Bengal. Branches of RICE were opened in different parts of Bengal and within a short span of time; each and every district of Bengal began to have a RICE Centre. As a home-grown education training brand, RICE became a household name. Many qualified, trained, and experienced teachers too joined hands with RICE.
With RICE firmly established, I decided to venture into computer education and reap the benefits of global growth of IT. I successfully partnered with CMC and trained students in various facets of IT. Today, India is considered to be an IT powerhouse. I am happy to have made some initial contribution – however little it might have been.
I found out that North Kolkata and its adjoining areas lacked a quality school. Thus, in 2004, I established the Adamas International School and pioneered the idea of ‘day boarding’ and a day school running simultaneously. The School is co-educational, and imparts education right from pre-primary level to senior secondary level. It strives for a continuous development to achieve excellence in all that is done with a focus on high academic attainment along with inculcating habits of good citizenship and integrity and honesty in thought, speech, and action. Today, Adamas International School is counted amongst the best schools in Kolkata.
I started dreaming big. I dreamed of a utopia that will provide a solution for all educational needs under one roof. It was with this idea that Adamas Knowledge City at Barasat was established. The Knowledge City has been built with the concept of a “City within the City” and holds an array of Educational Institutes – Adamas University, Adamas World School, Adamas Institute of Professional Studies etc. Located in an area of over 120 acres of lush green environment, Adamas Knowledge City has within itself, a University and a School. Adamas Knowledge City also provides several facilities like a guest house, a multi-cuisine restaurant, an amphitheatre, an open air auditorium and a soon-to-be-set-up commercial centre.
You have been a change-maker in up skilling students to prepare them for the modern world with courses in the fields of IT, ITES, Multimedia, Hardware, and Networking. How did you stumble across this vast opportunity way back in 2001 and how do you see the results? You could also tell us about how rewarding it has been on a personal level?
The late 80’s also witnessed the entry of computers in Indian lives. It was an expensive proposition during those times, to be trained in computers. After establishing RICE, I worked towards making computer education accessible to the masses so that they could reap the benefits created by the boom in the IT industry. The Indian Institute of Computer Science was initially established and trained a few thousand students. It was a time when the particular government of the day, opposed computerization. I received many threats. In fact, I returned one night to find the institute ransacked, and about 40 computers burnt down to ashes. But that did not deter me – and I decided to keep fighting. I knew that I had the support of willing students and their parents.
So, in 1992, I partnered with CMC (Computer Maintenance Corporation), a Government of India Enterprise at that time, to provide Software, Hardware and Networking courses. This centre was adjudged as the best in the whole of Eastern India in 2000. I then started my own venture, RICE Infotech Education in 2001, to provide training in the fields of IT, ITES, Multimedia, Hardware and Networking. This division was affiliated to the West Bengal State Council for Technical Education for a few of its courses. Many students, who have passed out from this institute, are now successfully placed in reputed IT companies in India and abroad. Whenever they come home, they always come and meet me, and share their stories and experiences. As a teacher, as an entrepreneur, nothing is more rewarding than to feel vindicated that one’s efforts of a lifetime has not gone in vain.
What is the differentiating factor for Adamas University and what are the unique courses offered in your campus?
The top-ranked Private University in Eastern India, Adamas University, since its inception in 2014, has pursued excellence not as a goal, but as a way of life. The University aspires to impart finest quality education to young minds with an already established high quality research facility and a powerful team of Professors. The founding principles of Adamas University, incorporates sustainability, social inclusivity, internationalism and an encompassing regional economic growth. Adamas has been consistent in communication of learning employability skills with special attention to Communication, Interpersonal Skills, Critical Thinking, Understanding Mindsets and Teamwork. We try to make the learners to be more responsive, think critically and decipher answers on their own to a greater extent and be creative and communicative. We are deeply committed to oﬀering the best of academics as well as a certain degree of ﬂexibility to our students on various matters, including curriculum, classes, attendance, examinations, assessment, re-sits and all other matters keeping in mind the paramount interests of students.
We offer 72 Under Graduate (UG) and Post Graduate (PG) courses offered in Management, Engineering, Economics & Commerce, Media, Liberal Arts, Sciences, Pharmacy, Biotech, Smart Agriculture, Law & Justice and Education. If they meet our eligibility criteria, students can choose any course to their preference.
You chose North 24 Parganas to develop as it did not have quality schools and your Computer Maintenance Corporation was judged as the best in the whole of Eastern India in 2000, did this pursuit of excellence originate from having trained people for civil services with RICE? What are your views on going for academic excellence and what challenges do you identify from your personal experience?
I believe that the pursuit of excellence stems from a combination of a few factors. Of course, there might be some ingrained factor, but for that to take shape, one has to have proper upbringing, blessings of having encouraging teachers, a well-grounded education and an environment that pushes you on. I was lucky that way – my chief inspiration has been my late Father Sri Sachis Kiran Ray, who himself was a well loved and respected teacher. When I started RICE, I interacted with students not only from Kolkata, but also from districts. I realized that there was no dearth of brains in Bengal. What was lacking was proper guidance. And I tried to fill that void. Civil services examination is perhaps the most critical of competitive examinations. To make my students successful, I had to do extensive research into latest techniques and curriculum and the proper methodology that ought to be followed. That has enriched me as an individual and as a teacher. In fact, even today, we have a separate research wing at RICE. I feel that academic excellence can only be achieved with patience and an unwavering attention towards the goal. It requires patience and it requires a never-say-die attitude. The greatest challenge is to be calm and not to be disheartened by temporary setbacks.
From the humble start as a software professional in the 80s to an education entrepreneur you have seen and done it all and given that background of success what message would you like to give to students and entrepreneurs in the field of technical and higher education?
My message to all students is same. If you are a student, then study has to be your main focus. The rest of the world can wait. If you are a technical student, then apart from your defined curriculum, you need to keep abreast with the latest technologies around the world. One of the principal factors for the rapid changes in today’s world is due to continuous change and upgradation of technology. Thus know-how of the latest technology trends is a must.
Being an entrepreneur in the field education puts an added challenge. The business of education is not just only profit oriented – there is a greater goal, which puts in additional pressure. It was there when I began, and it is still there. The area of technical and higher education, in the global world scenario, gets benchmarked against the best in the world. Therefore, there should be something unique in what is being offered. And, let me reiterate, profit cannot be the sole purpose.
Can you tell us about the biggest challenge that a young and intelligent entrepreneur faces and how can he prepare to make the most of the opportunities around him?
The first generation entrepreneur will have the problem of “how to” give birth to his business idea. This requires a fair amount of brainstorming and planning. One has to understand the existing rules and governmental regulations. Today, there are a number of entrepreneurship development programmes that provide the initial know-how to budding entrepreneurs. At our Adamas University, we have a dedicated entrepreneurship development and incubation cell. The next challenge will be fundraising for the project, for which one needs a lot of preparation, networking and understanding the interest of the investor. The next challenge will be the right infrastructure followed by selecting the right human resource. Negligence in any of these will result in delaying the project or failure of the project. I would advise all future entrepreneurs not only to think why their business idea is the best, but also have strong contingency plans against failures. One should learn from others’ failures and from successful entrepreneurs.