The challenge of improving the quality of teaching by training teachers and supporting them with modern teaching aids, tools and methodologies need to be taken up, says Pankaj Gupta, President, IIHMR University, in conversation with Shivani Babbar of Elets News Network (ENN).
With almost 25 years of experience in teaching, leadership and institution building, how has been your experience in the industry so far?
What is your vision after joining IIHMR as the President? I believe in living mindfully in the “now” and living ‘One day at a time’ and for all these years I have lived by this. Now when I look back, it seems like a beautiful canvas. I strongly believe that fulfilment in life can be achieved by the right knowledge, quality education and inner journey.
I decided to enter the world of academics at a young age of 21 with the credence that this is the way for change. Over the years, I realised the importance of spirituality and mindfulness and the long time I have spent in silence solitude at Chopta, near Kedarnath, has changed my perspective and way of living life. My personal focus now is not just academic excellence but also achieving human excellence based on ethics, truthfulness and a need for self-realisation. My core area of teaching was Financial Accounting, Management Accounting and Strategic Cost Management. But now I am more focused on life related courses such as, Self-awareness and Mindfulness, Ancient Wisdom, Money to Meaning etc. Aspiring to bring in a moral compass to healthcare management education, we have recently launched, “Centre for Wellness, Mindfulness and Ethics” at IIHMR University. I have also introduced the students to the basic tenets of this ancient Indian discipline through various workshops and training sessions.
Tell us the challenges that the education ecosystem is still facing in today’s time.
Today, it is very difficult to predict over half the expertise and skillsets which will be required in the next 5 years. The concept of lifelong learning will have to be embedded in the way we teach our youth. Education institutions have been made accessible to all through various schemes and initiatives undertaken by the government. We face the challenge of student’s enrolment and learning. To enable this, an enabling ecosystem should be developed which attracts students, teachers who have a passion for their chosen vocation, pedagogy that transitions from routine learning to conceptual methods that can keep both teachers and students engaged and engrossed. The challenge of improving the quality of teaching by training teachers and supporting them with modern teaching aids, tools and methodologies need to be taken up with creating self-inspired ‘Gurus’.
How is the curriculum designed at your institution? What are the special features that make IIHMR different from other universities?
We try to make classes more interactive in nature which is a healthy mix of formal lectures, case studies, presentations and lots of experiential workshops. The teaching methodology is supplemented with lectures and sessions from industry experts. Apart from this, we have introduced practicum which is followed one day in a week where we conduct field visits, guest lectures, quiz sessions and case studies leading to a highquality educational offering. This was introduced to develop ‘rigor and relevance’ in their ongoing Modules.
IIHMR University is South Asian region’s premier knowledge institution specialising in research, postgraduate education and training exclusively in the healthcare Sector. The University offers MBA in Hospital and Health Management, Pharmaceutical Management and in Rural Management. It also offers master’s in public health (MPH) programme, in cooperation with John Hopkins University, USA. Apart from this, the institution also runs doctoral programs, executive education, research and consultancy in a variety of fields related to the health care sector.
Over the past decades the institution has conducted more than 800 research projects and studies in health policies and programs at the national and international levels. Our vision is to make a visible impact on improvement of health services management, produce world-class research output and emerge as the one of the leading academic centres of excellence in the Asian region.
What are your future endeavours in shaping the future course of the University?
We at IIHMR have been striving to achieve optimal education, creating a formidable framework for healthcare. IIHMR University is arming its students with the right kind of tools to create a positive interference in serving the public. To enhance this, we intend to expand our scope to multidisciplinary factions, aiming for global expansion.
IIHMR-U has recently launched ‘Centre for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship’ (CIIE) on 26 September, 2019. CIIE aims to promote entrepreneurship and innovation using a 360-degree approach to enable start-ups. The focus is on producing venture ready workforce and transforming Job seekers to job creators.
IIHMR University here has been ranked first amongst the cleanest higher educational institutions in India in the Swachh Campus rankings 2019. What were the initiatives taken to be one of the cleanest universities?
IIHMR University has been ranked first amongst the cleanest higher educational institutions in India in the non-residential universities category in the Swachh Campus Rankings 2019 organized by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), Govt. of India. We are elated and proud to receive the award for being the cleanest university in India. cleanliness is one of the most important goal of real education and we must adopt it. The basic aim of education must be to make a complete human being. Our University is a green-clean institution that also promotes a culture of cleanliness, health, sanitation, waste management, rainwater harvesting, solar power, and a green eco system. The University is committed to the cause of environment conservation.
Recently, we also declared our campus ‘plastic and smoke-free’. Our students, faculty and staff have played a very important role in this regard and we are very proud of the team. The use of plastic is detrimental to the environment and human body. Keeping this in view the university has taken an important decision to ban plastic in the university. Henceforth single-use plastic items like bottles, cups, glasses and other items, polythene bags and plastic items have been banned. Our University fared well with all the parameters of Swacchta Ranking and here we are!