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Students Should be Taught Employability Skills

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There is a huge gap between academic knowledge and the corporate skills that companies demand, says S Sampathy, Deputy CEO, Siva  Sivani Institutes, in conversation with Rozelle Laha

Please tell us about the implementation of ICT in Siva Sivani Institutes.
The institute is the pioneer in implementing ICT in the classrooms in Andhra region. We have been paperless since 2002. Students and  teachers carry laptops to the classrooms and the lecture that the teacher gives is converted into a lesson and sent to the students. So at  the time of revision, the students do not miss even a minute of the lesson done in the classroom. Evaluation of the students is also done  on the basis of online tests.

Does the implementation of ICT differ in schools? 
The pedagogy used in management institutions is that of participative learning. The students participate equally in the classrooms  through detailed discussions. Whereas in the school and at degree level, the teacher does all the teaching and there is less involvement  of the children in the discussions. Thus, it is not possible to implement all the technologies used in management institutes in schools  and graduate colleges.

What are the challenges in implementing ICT tools?
When the management decided to make technology a part of the education in the institutes, there was a lot of resistance from the  faculty. There were a number of hardware and software breakdowns and the teachers wanted to go back to the old teaching methods.  After the initial hiccups, the system settled down. The teachers are now more comfortable using technology than the conventional  methods of teaching.

Please tell us about your teacher-training programmes.
A number of teacher-training programmes are being run in the institutes. Senior faculty train the junior faculty on a regular basis. A  lot of skilled people from outside the institute are called to provide training to the staff on various topics and the institutes have grown  with their experiences.

How do you visualise the implementation of ICT in the future?
The future of ICT is bright and a lot of growth will be seen in implementing ICT tools. There are a number of institutions that have  started implementation of technology in their institutions recently, but they have overtaken us in the implementation of the tools.  There is a huge advent of new technology in the market which changes very rapidly. The new institutions went ahead in the  implementation of the latest technology. Siva Sivani Institutions spend a lot of money on the continuous up gradation of their  hardware and software to be in tune with the changing times. We have spent around `5 crore in installing and upgradation of ICT in our  campus.

Please share with us the success story of Siva Sivani Institutes.
We are firmly rooted in our ethics. We believe in imparting soft skills to the students. The students are taught life skills, beyond academic knowledge. This is our USP and other management institutes emulate us. We have received a number of awards and have  been ranked as number one in intellectual capability. The institute has also been awarded for its student placements.
There is a huge  gap between academic knowledge and the corporate skills that companies demand. Various colleges in India are not able to provide anything new for proper development of students. They only follow the curriculum provided by the university and thus, the students  lack the employability skills. Siva Sivani Institute believes in enhancing the skills of the students and making them industry-ready.

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