Dr. P. Shyama Raju
Chancellor- REVA University, Bangalore
Q. The nation loves to believe that most teachers today love their notes more than what may be there in any textbook, prefer a textbook written by a desi author over reference books that the world reads, and skills-enhancement is an unnecessary appendage that colleges, institutions, and universities do not need. Would you agree to this? If not, what do you think is the real state of education today?
At REVA, our view point and practices are slightly different. We have been a young, dynamic University which has created a niche for itself with a complete approach towards digitalizing education. REVA educators are not completely dependent on notes or textbooks. The faculty do use textbooks for references, but apart from that, they use world reads for reference that is available at our Central Library. REVA Central Library offers educators, students and staff a digital repository of references to meet their requirements. The full-fledged digitalised Central Library is equipped with the digital mode of services to encourage learning and research innovation among the learners as well as educators. The members of the library can also enjoy physical access to reference books, journals and magazines during the working hours of the library. Beyond this, as we are a global University, our references are more international in flavour than national.
Skill enhancement programmes are the need of the hour to enhance the skillsets of the students based on their core areas of study. The trainers at REVA conduct extensive research to enhance the quality of skill development programmes so that to make the students updated with the industry trends.
The competitive job market of today requires competent, capable and skilled people infused with industry skills, communication skills and entrepreneurial skills to meet the global demand. Apart from diploma and certificate programmes, skill development programmes are also offered by UIIC and REVA NEST to enhance the skillsets of students based on the industry trends.
Q. What hurts our education system more… differences in curriculum, varying examination patterns, or dissimilar evaluation standards? Or are there other factors that are not included in this question? Is it possible to harmonize these differences?
As you know, the economic development of the nation not only depends on the technology, capital and natural resources but also on the productivity and efficiency of the workforce. Higher education and skill training are essential to increase the efficiency of human capital in the country.
Differences in the curriculum, varying examination pattern and dissimilar evaluation standards, all these negatively affect the education system. The inequity in the curriculum, examination patterns and evaluation standards are holding the students back from attaining their full potential and best possible education.
It is impossible to harmonise the differences in education both in national and international levels. Educational institutions should handle these contrasts by defining their operational strategies and missions accordingly.
Considering this, REVA University has well-defined operational strategies both in national and international contexts. REVA University meets these dissimilarities through international collaborations, the enhancement of research capabilities and ensuring that our curriculum is far more global and diverse in its approach.
Q. Is it true that Centre vs state/UT political conflict has hurt education and education-related policies more than any other factor? If this is true, what is the way out? Is finding a way out the responsibility of educators?
Political intervention usually stops the growth of the education system in this globally competitive world. To stimulate technological and scientific innovations, educational institutions should have the freedom of open thinking. Political interference will lead to poor educational outcomes. At REVA we choose to stay away from political conflicts, but do ensure our students are sensitive to political changes and decipher what is good or bad for the country.
Since political differences affect the freedom for expression, execution of innovative ideas and knowledge enhancement, REVA is completely autonomous in its decisions by being a private university. It is not the sole responsibility of educators to come out of such issues, but it should be a collaborative effort from every one of us.
Q. Where do you think the real revolution in education needs to start… the primary schools, secondary schools, or colleges? Must this revolution have its epicentre in student-oriented activities or must it revolve around faculty restructuring?
Educational revolution is happening because of the advent of various technological inventions. These technological transformations are changing the landscape of education both in school and university level. Even though the real revolution in education should start at primary level, universities are ideal to establish this transition as it is easy for the students of universities to keep up the pace of these revolutionary technological transitions.
REVA University also believes that student-oriented activities should be the epicentre of an educational revolution to create a skilled workforce. The major goal of student-centred learning is to make the learning process engaging, challenging and encouraging. Personalised and experiential learning help them to achieve their educational as well as career goals without much difficulty.
Workshops, seminars, technical talks, conferences, internship programmes, and training programmes are conducted at REVA for the students. REVA University also feels the importance of knowledge enhancement of faculty to create an engaging learning environment for the students. For this, we conduct Faculty Development Programmes (FDPs) that boost the knowledge and skills of the educators in their specific subject areas.
Q. It is still a trend for everyone to yearn for higher education despite the efforts of the government in the past few years to shift the focus towards skill development and vocational training. What can be done to change this mindset?
The globalisation of education witnessed unpredictable changes in the current scenario, which is not convincing for the majority. People are still in the mind-set of pursuing conventional education and do not want to embrace skill-based education. People need to accept the changes in the educational system to move forward and achieve global standards of education.
Parents should understand and let the students to adopt the modern-day education, which is skill-based so that to bring a dynamic change in the education domain. To change the mindset, we need to create awareness amongst the parents citing the relevance and employability opportunities of skill-based education. REVA University has adopted the new age pathway long back so that our students can apply the knowledge attained through experiential learning in a real-life scenario.
Q. What is your key take away on NIRF vs Other Private Ranking agencies?
The key take away of NIRF ranking is that it assures the quality of education and overall performance of the educational institution/university. It shows the competitiveness of the University amongst other educational institutions. REVA University is also ranked by NIRF, which shows the quality of education and competitiveness of REVA University.