Birla Institute of Management Technology (BIMTECH), established in 1988 under the aegis of the Birla Academy of Art and Culture, has been providing highly conducive academic environment, interaction with industry-academia professors, exposure to the international universities and companies, and a ready profile of strong alumni base spread through out the world.
Dr H Chaturvedi, Director, BIMTECH, tells us more about the latest happenings at the institute and his views on the higher education scenario in India.
By Sheena Joseph, Elets News Service (ENN)
BIMTECH has recently signed an MoU with O P Jindal Global University (OPJGU), Sonipat to build academic capacity. Could you elaborate on the same?
Jindal Global University and BIMTECH have very special expertise in their domain and that is what has made this partnership happen. This alliance will address the need for joint research, management development programmes, case development, joint international conferences and students’ academic activities. Management and Public Policy are the areas of prime attention in the partnerships. The strength is drawn from the strong faculty profile, good international linkages and network of institutions in academia and industry.
In terms of regulation of the higher education sector, what are the key challenges and opportunities in India?
Almost all national and international reports are indicating that we are one of the biggest beneficiaries of the demographic advantage. A large number of the Indian population will be in the age group of 15-24, which means that we have a strong youth population. Provision of access and quality education is imperative in this context. I would draw your attention to some of the reports which came out in the last the few years, such as Meritrac and Nasscom, which highlight employability among students graduating from higher education institutes. The data is depressing as quality of education is deteriorating, with less than 30 percent of the graduates being employable.
Regulatory bodies will only be effective to the extent of efficient performance that they provide and also to the extent of pro active steps they take to promote higher education in India
This is a matter of great worry for the nation. The system of education that is being followed today needs to change and we have to make it more industry relevant. Some of it can also be attributed to the ill regulations and over control by regulators. Regulations need a thorough review and appropriate implementation in the current environment in order to promote education for all.
The Union Cabinet has cleared the establishment of National Commission for Higher Education and Research. What are your views on the process of subsuming various regulatory bodies for a common regulatory body?
The Indian education system is a complex scheme. It is following the path which USA was following in the early 1900s. I think we should learn from the best practices of other countries as well as those being implemented within the country. No regulatory system is good or bad in itself. A common regulatory framework will be good if the activities are carried forward effectively. That’s what happened in USA in 1920s and 1930s. Today, we have not done anything except having followed the system. We also need to start following the best practices in regulation of other countries. These practices ensure appropriate governance with minimal intervention and accreditation for recognition of quality and support. Institutions will automatically come forward to improve quality if they want to sustain, but these accreditation institutions are usually private and not government. Therefore, regulatory bodies will only be effective to the extent of efficient performance that they provide and also to the extent of pro active steps they take to promote higher education in India.
In terms of Foreign Collaborations, BIMTECH has several National and International partner institutions. What are the future plans for BIMTECH furthering these collaborations?
BIMTECH has been identified as one of the top 5 business schools in Indian. The institute has a highly globalized presence. We are working closely with our international partners in terms of student exchange, faculty exchange, research partnership, emerging market programme, joint conferences and capacity building programmes. The creation of research groups and publications is one of the biggest agenda that we are following, and this will help us in knowledge creation and knowledge dissemination.
BIMTECH undertakes its teaching and research activities under various academic centres . How important is research activities in higher education?
Research is the only realization in higher education. Research forms a major part of the professors’ work requirement, as it is also reflected in the classroom interactions. Our focus is to produce knowledge and disseminate it through different publications. We are engaging students so that they are well aware of research activities. However, this training does not automatically restrict their job opportunities to research work per se.
The student engagement is indeed adding to their achievements as they are winning national and international recognitions over their enhanced abilities, which offers them better employment. The research and publication wing of the institute regularly contributes to the academic and industry research undertakings, and faculties share these research and knowledge so generated to inspire and create new ideas.
Does BIMTECH offer Online MBA Programmes to students?
BIMTECH does not offer online education as of now. The present structure is not prioritizing online education as one of the offerings of BIMTECH. It may be considered after the launch of our executive education programme.
Do you think Industry Academia Partnership is important to provide employable skills for students?
There has been much noise on industry academia partnership in India. However, it has not matured much in India. The mutual respect has not been workout between industry and academia and they are still largely in the blame game mode. It is to be realized that business schools are churning out graduates who are absorbed by the industry, and if this dustry academia partnership does not happen, then the industry will have to bear a huge cost in training people to achieve the required quality. This has been realized by very few companies and it becomes a concern when there is a decline in quality.
BIMTECH has always focused on a very good industry academia interface and we ensure that all students are effectively placed after they receive their degree. Many of our faculty members are industry veterans, thereby providing good industry experience and knowledge sharing to students.