Prof (Dr) Deependra Kumar Jha is a well-versed administrator with years of experience in research, teaching, industry and administration. He is currently working as the Pro Vice Chancellor of GD Goenka University. Dr Jha shares with Elets News Network (ENN) regarding the state of engineering education in India and how it needs to be changed and also discusses GD Goenka’s methodology to make students future-ready and more
How do you see the Higher Education scenario in India (especially in engineering discipline) as compared to other countries?
With 140 million students in the collegegoing age group, India’s education system is one of the largest in the world. The programmes that attract most students today are engineering, medical, management and law. Of this, engineering is the most sought after.
During the last few decades, hundreds of engineering institutes have mushroomed across the country. But many of them do not evoke confidence. There is one major issue. In the past, much emphasis was given to theoretical knowledge and research in engineering institutes. There was not much emphasis on practical training. Today, one can see a subtle change. Some new age institutes have started focusing more on the practical and interdisciplinary aspects of engineering education, without diluting the theoretical component.
At GD Goenka University, students are introduced to the concept of projects from the very first semester and the results have been heartening. The projects developed by students have won appreciation from visitors from top universities from India as well as Europe, America and Asia. I believe that engineering institutes that are adopting project-based learning will produce better engineering graduates.
Our students are encouraged to attend conferences, research seminars etc, so that they imbibe new knowledge. The University has entered into partnerships with some American and European universities to give students international exposure
How technological transformations and innovative learning tools can change the education landscape in India in the coming decade?
Technology has brought about a significant transformation in teaching and learning. Online resources are used extensively by the students. In some cases, these have replaced the personal tutor. However, technology cannot replace vision; it can only help in realising it. We must realise that innovative learning tools can deliver only when the importance of learning centricity is recognised and emphasised upon. The real transformation will happen when learning outcomes are better defined and the teachers and students are provided the best tools to achieve these goals.
What methodology you follow to make your students future-ready as well as industry-ready?
A key part of our education is interdisciplinary and project-based learning. This helps the students acquire communication, project management, time management and leadership skills. These are the skills desired by the industry but cannot be imparted in a traditional classroom.
Another thing that we stress on is learning through exposure. Our students are encouraged to attend conferences, guest lectures, research seminars etc, so that they imbibe new knowledge. The University has entered into partnerships with some American and European universities to give students international exposure. We also believe in sensitising the students towards society by arranging visits to orphanages and old-age homes. This all-round approach to teaching is helping us make our students not only future-ready and industry-ready but also life-ready.
According to you, how does a ‘brand’ matters for an educational institution?
Brand brings trust and it cannot be built in a day. Brand means quality, and quality has no substitute. Brand in the educational scenario means stability and viability and that’s why it matters a lot.
What makes GD Goenka a ‘Trusted Brand in Engineering Education’?
The GD Goenka University is guided by the philosophy that new thinking in the areas of teaching, learning, research and training are pivotal to making students the future leaders. The School of Engineering has been ranked the 3rd Top Emerging Private Institute in India by Times Engineering 2015. We have taken great care in setting up our engineering labs. They are equipped with world class infrastructure and provide the students an opportunity to work on some of the latest and most modern instruments from day one. We are not even three years old, but in this short span, we have held two conferences that had international participation; organised two national level project exhibitions; organised over 30 industrial visits and guest lectures and set up partnerships with leading industries, institutes and top foreign universities.
Technology has brought about a significant transformation in teaching and learning. Online resources are used extensively by the students. In some cases, these have replaced the personal tutor. However, technology cannot replace vision; it can only help in realising it. We must realise that innovative learning tools can deliver only when the importance of learning centricity is recognised and emphasised upon
Why do students opt for GD Goenka University as an educational destination?
Some of the factors that are building student trust and faith in the GD Goenka University are its world class infrastructure, qualified and dedicated faculty, flexible credit system, industrial and global exposure, and interdisciplinary and project-based learning.
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