Friday, August 22, 2014

A JUST WAR FAIRLY WON!




Prof. K. K. Krishnan  

800+ BIMTECH students, all of whom are hostellers, have recently won a holy jihad against wanton waste at the dining table. A big hurrah for the young Turks!






The battle statistics are startling:
·         The wastage of food that on an average was around 125 Kg came down to average of 27 Kg after the campaign concluded.
  • About 50 faculty and staff participated in the campaign.
  • There was active participation from various clubs and conduits like Pallette, Majlis, UFE, Ranganathan Society, QCB, Food, Discipline and Cultural Conduit.. Approximately 250 students joined as volunteers or were involved in different activities organized during the week.
  • The activities involved Poster Making Competition, Quiz Two minutes etc.
The multipronged campaign against the demon waste was launched through a sustained campaign in the campus, imaginatively titled WAR ON WANT (WOW) led by BIMTECH’s Marketing Professor Dr. Anuj Sharma, who is also a hostel warden. The campaign lasted for a week. It used all the tools of integrated marketing communication successfully.
Obviously the real heros of the campaign were the dedicated faculty team of Dr. Anuj Sharma enthusiastically supported by student volunteers.
Dr. Anuj Sharma is targeting to get 30 minutes a week per faculty for follow up battle on WoW and he’s hopeful of succeeding in it. Confidence borne out of success!
Moral of the story: IF THERE’S A WILL, THERE’S A WAY – EVEN WITH GENY!




 



Thursday, June 12, 2014

HOW TO ENSURE YOUR PLACEMENT – NINE COMMANDMENTS



 Prof. K. K. Krishnan


Can you see the big picture without losing sight of the detail? Do you have the ability to balance passion with pragmatism? Are you quick thinking? Level headed? Do you have an agile mind? - Advertisement for Management Trainees by Deutsche Bank.
  






What you are seeing above is the description of an ideal Management Trainee. The qualities which corporates are looking for, irrespective of the domain area, will be on above lines. From my experience, I have observed that the ideal way to prepare for placement is to start early-from Day One that you are here in the campus. The task before you is to convert a “commodity” (yourself) into a “brand” in the two years that you are with us. In this case, the “commodity” is a vibrant human being with “infinite potential”!
(I)                 The foremost quality that you should aim to possess is self-awareness. That is, a realistic awareness of your strengths and weaknesses. This refers to your proficiency in desired areas (quantitative ability, English language proficiency, subject proficiency, the attitude one adopts towards achieving one’s goals, attitude towards others, sense of optimism or can do attitude etc.) Once you identify your strengths and weaknesses, work on strengthening the area which you consider “weak”.
(II)               Learn to “connect the dots”. In the world of business, every event is connected with some other event. For example, if demand for a certain category of goods is falling, it may be due to a shift in consumer taste, change in income levels, availability of low priced substitutes, inflation, change in technology etc. So be consciously aware of the “interconnectedness” of things and consciously cultivate the art of making connection by reading financial and regular newspapers, magazines, accessing useful internet sources like Wikipedia etc. Recruiters are on the lookout for nimble minds who can connect dots fast. This ability, signals the potential in you, which is a much valued trait which is predictive of success.
(III)             Be consistent in your habits, including study hours. “Last minute” preparation technique will be disastrous here. And aim at attaining a good academic level right from the First Trimester itself.
(IV)              Learn from your peers, in addition to other regular sources of learning. You will find talented peers in the class who are proficient in certain areas where you’re not that strong. Interact and do networking with them to learn from them. Also gradually learn to connect with your seniors and super seniors, who are BIMTECH alumni through the INMOS platform, unique to insurance students.
(V)                Hone your communication skills and interpersonal skills by participating in BIMTECH Clubs like Majlis, QCB or by taking active part in CCR activities. Do not hesitate to ask questions in class and join the classroom discussions to get rid of your fear of speaking before an audience.
(VI)              Interact with your faculty who are always there to help you–and get your doubts clarified as soon as doubts arise. Keep proper class and other notes.
(VII)            Make full use of our amazing library facilities and the various data banks with the library. (“Reading maketh a ready man” said Bacon.) You will evolve into a “quick thinker”.
(VIII)          Visualize a preferred career specialization in the area of your choice and start building up a knowledge base in the area. Also cultivate the qualities of Curiosity, Insight, Engagement and Determination, eagerly sought by recruiters.
(IX)              Adopt constructive ways to de-stress yourself (like Yoga, Meditation, Light Cycling, Gym etc.). Try to keep yourself cheerful and motivated. Recruiters prefer optimists!
 [P.S. - The unstated Xth Commandment is: Be totally Honest in your thoughts, words and deeds.]
*****


Monday, February 3, 2014

Indian Higher Education Reforms are on Back-burner



 
Dr. H. Chaturvedi

Indian higher education has been one of the major national issue of concern during recent years due to various reasons. Never in the 64 years history of independence, higher education could attract so much attention at the national level.
India’s burgeoning two trillion economy can not sustain its robust growth unless supply of globally competitive and talented manpower is assured for coming decades. The National Knowledge Commission (NKC) 2006-09 under the chairmanship of Sam Pitroda in its final report submitted in 2009 opined that there is a quiet crises in higher education in India which sums deep. The time has come to address this crises in a systemic and forthright manner.1
When UPA-II came into power in 2009, Kapil Sibal was made incharge of MHRD. After joining the MHRD, he has said very emphatically that he would initiate reforms to Indian Education in the similar zeal shown by Dr. Manmohan Singh in reforming the Indian Economy during the post-1991.
During the first 100 days of his tenure at MHRD, Kapil Sibal made several announcements and assured the nation that the major recommendations of NKC  and the Yash Pal Committee would be implemented by his ministry during the 11th plan itself. His articulation on educational reforms was widely welcomed and excited the intelligentsia to a large extent.
There has been nation wide debate on the directions and implications of higher education reforms proposed by the MHRD under the stewardship of Kapil Sibal. His proposal attracted diverse reactions from state governments, university teachers and eminent educationists. Recently Sam Pitroda has expressed his serious concern about poor implementation of the major recommendations of NKC. He was addressing a national conference of vice-chancellors called by the MHRD which was held at Delhi on March 25, 2011.
Since the XI Five Years Plan will be completed by 2012, it is worth stock taking whether we could achieve various targets of this plan on higher education. It is also pertinent to review the progress of higher education reforms for the last two years. Private sector has been assigned a very active role by the NKC and the Planning Commission.
Hence there is a need to assess whether there is a complete clarity in policy formulation and its implementation with regard to various issues related to higher education. According to Edge-2011 Report by Ernst & Young, the private sector accounted for 63 percent of all higher education institutions in 2006.
Assuming limitations of government’s resources available for future growth of higher education and also ever rising interests of the private sector in setting up new institutions in higher education, there will be a need for clear cut national policy about the respective roles of public and private sectors in higher education.
The current status of Indian Higher Education presents both promises and pit falls. During the last dacade the number of students pursuing higher education in India has increased from 8.4 million to 16.0 million which accounts almost 20 percent of the global population of university and college students. We have 26478 higher education institutions which are four times of U.S. institutions. Our current Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) is 13 percent which is much less than 23 percent GER of China. It is also lagging behind 21 percent GER of BRIC Nations and 26 percent global average. One of the major reason for our poor GER is our low spending on higher education. Our public spending on higher education is 0.6 percent of GDP which is much less than required. Lack of quality in Indian Higher Education is a big problem. According to NAAC data, only 11 percent universities and colleges meet the criteria to qualify for Grade ‘A’ rating.
Our country can feel pride in producing some of the finest brains for foreign universities where they are respected for their thought leadership. Amartya Sen, P.N. Bhagawati, Ramkrishnan, Late C.K. Prahlad, Nitin Noharia, Ram Charan, Dipak Jain, Anil Gupta, Nirmalya Kumar, Jagdish Seth are few examples. But do we have world class universities and institutions?
According to ranking of top 200 universities of the world published by the Times Higher Education (2010), US had 72, UK 29, Canada 9, China 6, Japan 5, Hong Kong 4, and Singapore 2. None of Indian Universities could find a place in this list. Main criteria for getting place in this list is producing world class research by the university. Why our universities and centres of academic excellence such as IITs, IISc and IIMs are unable to compete with universities of China, Hong Kong and Singapore which have made progress only recently?
While discussing success or failure of reforms in Indian Higher Education, we have to seek answer to this question. It seems that our universities and higher education institutions are too much pre-occupied with teaching and producing poor quality degree holders.
Higher education in India has played an important role in producing millions of engineers, managers, teachers, accountants, scientists, administrators and others who are running our factories, offices, scientific labs, schools, colleges, farms. Today Indian I.T. industry is respected worldwide for which credit should be given to hundreds of engineering colleges and IITs which produced thousands of engineers and software developers with requisite skills and competencies.
Resilience and robustness of Indian economy is largely dependent on our higher education institutions. Higher education in India is also credited as a catalyst for social change because it makes it possible for youths from down trodden or poor middle class strata, to dream big and to translate dreams into reality.
Higher education in India assumes further importance due to growing significance of knowledge industries and services in the globalised economy. Capital or natural resources are now relatively less important for sustainable growth of a nation than the trained and talented manpower. According to Ernst & Young, current spending on higher education in India may be around ` 46,200 crores which is likely to increase to ` 150,000 crore by the year 2020.
Highly education is not only critically important for Indian economy, it can make our country a big player in global higher education by the end of this dacade. Currently around 100 million students are enrolled worldwide in higher education. By 2020, it is likely to rise to 200 million. If planned efforts are made by both governments and private education service provider, India can be made a hub for higher education by the year 2020 in disciplines like engineering, management, medical, pharmacy and social sciences. We will have to develop clusters of would class institutions in 100 cities where foreign students could study comfortably.
If we could attract few lacs foreign students every year, India can become a hub for higher education by 2020. It may look a gigantic task but it is possible if we have a national will for achieving it. Singapore and Dubai are two examples where proactive government policies made these city nations as global destination for higher education.
The Reform Agenda of MHRD
Indian Higher Education has been facing a big policy vacuum for a long period. Our university system, mostly designed on British model could not manage the massive expansion of higher education held during the last two dacades.  The number of students in higher education increased from 49 lakh in 1990 to 1.60 crore in 2010. Since 2009, there has been a rush for reforms in higher education. It was overdue for a long time. There are nine bills formulated by the MHRD for enacting several higher education reforms. These bills are at various stages before becoming acts of parliament. These bills are (i) The Foreign Educational Institutions (Regulation of Entry and Operations) Bill, 2010, (ii) The Prohibition of Unfair Practices in Technical Educational Institutions, Medical Educational Institutions and University bill, 2010, (iii) The Educational Tribunals Bill, 2010, (iv) The National Accreditation Regulatory Authority for Higher Educational Institutions Bill 2010, (v) The Universities for Innovation Bill 2010, (vi) The National Commission For Higher Education and Research (NCHER) Bill, 2010, (vii) The Protection and Utilisation of Public Funded Intellectual Property Bill 2008, (viii) National Academic Depository Bill.
Ideology of Reform Agenda
It may be pertinent to note that higher education reforms proposed by MHRD are not a sudden development. During the post liberalization era, the government policy on education was under pressure for not following market led reforms. There are three major reports on higher education submitted by three high-profile committees appointed by the Union Government during last dacade. They were – The Ambani – Birla Committee, The National Knowledge Commission (NKC) and The Yashpal Committee. First two committees suggested to the Union Government that the private sector should be assigned a greater role in higher education. Yashpal Committee favored less regulation of universities by the government and advocated self- regulation.
If we examine the basic ideas behind objectives laid down in all bills proposed by MHRD, we may find a common thread of ideology. The first and foremost idea is that the government should focus on primary and secondary school education by leaving higher education to markets upto a large extent. An underlying assumption is establishing altogether new organizations rather than reforming existing institutions. While setting up ‘new institutions’, high degree of autonomy has been proposed. It can be seen that in every bill a ‘quick-fix solution has been envisaged to a particular problem of higher education which does not provide a long-term or holistic vision for higher education.
The most glaring feature of all these bills is that MHRD has not done a nation wide consultation with all stake holders. Since state governments have constitutional power to manage higher education at state levels, at least they should have been taken on board before formulating these bills. This is the reason why several state governments under opposition parties have not liked some of the bills because their powers on higher education institutions and universities are likely to be curbed by these bills.