In the last five years, huge funding has come into school and higher education but sincere effort is missing which is more important than money. Piyush Trivedi, Vice Chancellor, Rajiv Gandhi Proudyogiki Vishwavidyalaya in an exclusive interview with Mohd Ujaley says, “Today, money is not a constraint in our country but we need to have sincere teachers, sincere efforts, right approaches and it does not matter who provide it, be it state or central government”
You are an educationist and have almost three decades of experience. How has the technical education scenario changed over the years?
Entire technical education scene has changed over a period of time, right from the days when we were student and now, when we get students in our university. There has been vertical growth in technical and professional education in the country. Number of seats available for technical education has significantly increased. Also, the quality of the student, we get today is entirely different. Earlier, universities used to get top-notch student such as IAS meritorious. When I was student, there were 700 seats in engineering and only 30 seats in pharmacy. Today, that has changed to more than a lakh in Madhya Pradesh alone. Similarly at national level, number of seats has increased. Over the years, technical education has expanded and is available to all who are interested in pursuing technical education.
It is true that access to education has increased over the years but there are a lot of educationists who say that value education has equally deteriorated in the country. How do you look at it and does RGTU have any programme that focuses on value education?
I completely agree with the statement that there has been deterioration in value education in our country. At times, I wonder why it has come to a point where we have to teach value; rather it should have been inherited. With growing young population, it is important to have right set of education and value to use the young energy for the nation building. Basically it should come from home and by in large inculcated at school level. Even at university like RGTU, we organise programme intended to inculcate more values among our students. I also feel right intervention of spirituality can help in bridging this gap in our education system.
Your university portal is one of the good examples of using ICT for better interaction, bringing transparency and accountability. What is your overall perspective in the use of tools of technology for education?
Information technology has changed the scenario across the globe, not only in India. The main objective of centre and state governments are access and equality in education. The idea is to provide quality education to all, but to have best professors at the remotest part of the country is a huge challenge. This challenge can be overcome by using ICT. The lecture can be delivered to the remotest part of the country with the help of using technology.
Vocational education is one area where ICT can play important role. The National Knowledge Commission has provided knowledge network to large number of institutions and apart from that all the panchayats are going to be connected with the internet. Once they are linked, education can be promoted, propagated and spread.Also, technology has crucial role to play in skill development. Prime Minister who is also the Chairman of the Planning Commission have said that we require at least 40 percent skilled population in coming years if India has to grow at a pace that is able to generate ample employments. That is why 12th five year plan consider skill development as mission for the country.
There seems to be disconnect between university and industry. Industry say that whatever they required is not being taught in university and similarly university complains that they do not participate in research. In your opinion how we can bridge this gap of different goals and mindsets of academia and industry?
Yes, there are some gaps between academia and industry. The issue that graduates are not being properly trained does have some merit but universities are focusing hugely on training and practical assignments. We are also looking at establishing corporate school at university campus to bridge this gap. I also believe that on the board of university people from industry should be there so that syllabus can be revised quite often as per the requirement of the industry. But the major challenge comes from industry; they are only ready to participate in training once somebody is employed with them. They are not ready to invest into education system. Some large IT companies have supported us and actively participated at university discourse, I feel same effort is required from whole chunk of the industry. More interaction with academia and industry will raise productivity and quality for both. I agree that we require more of the training of teachers, more sincerity and access to the industrial training and regular dialogue between academia and industry. In my opinion we may have different mindsets but we are not very different to each other.
There are bills pending in parliament that are directed towards bringing quality, transparency and access into education system. But they have not seen the light of the day because majority of states oppose these bills as they think that these are against the federal structure of the country and encroach into the power of states. In your opinion aren’t we being over-federalist?
I feel there has to be good coordination between states and centre on all the issues. As far as education and health are concerned, more coordination and agreement is needed due to its sheer impact on the life of the people. What I have noticed that in last five years, huge funding has come into schools and higher education, but we need sincere effort more than money. Today, money is not constraint in our country but we need to have sincere teachers, sincere efforts, right approaches and it does not matter who provides it, be it state or central government. In the area of education, we should not go into nittygritty of federalism rather we should focus on how objective of the nation as a whole should be achieved. Nation development should be our target despite all the difference between personalities or states. Health and education for all can only grow this country.
Policies of the government are excellent but we need to implement them sincerely and wholeheartedly
As an educationist you come across young people and also engage at leadership level to motivate them. In your opinion are we channelizing the energy of our young minds in right direction?
Policies of the government are excellent but we need to implement them sincerely and wholeheartedly. My understanding is that the sincere effort in this direction will bring laurel to the country. A young India is not and should not only be about cheap labour or more productivity, it is more about being knowledge capital and making India a developed nation.We can be a better model of growth and democracy because of our flexible nature and easy acceptability to new ideas. In this direction, proper channelization of the energy of the young students are very important and I personally feel, we have to do lot more by giving them quality education and more avenues for employment or entrepreneurship.
What are the major initiatives RGTU is taking in the area of academic excellence, research and use of ICT?
We have taken lot of initiatives in last 4 year. We are using various e-governance tools to enable reforms for financial transparency, academic excellence and easy access to information and tracking of the university. Apart from above, we are also planning to use web portal as a resource for students and teachers by providing them with online lectures, presentation and study materials. One important area in this regard is content development by which we shall be able to focus on all the part of the state.As far as infrastructure is concerned, we have made huge progress and now we have campus development programme in place.
For promoting research and academic excellence, we are giving scholarships to meritorious students. We have also created corpus of `10 crore for research and development. In future, we are heavily going to focus on skill development programme on the campus. At RGTU campus, we have solar and wind energy creation programme which produces about 33 Kilowatts that is almost 10 percent of our energy consumption on the campus. So overall when you look at RGTU, we have made huge progress and there are lot of initiatives in the pipeline.