Prof. V S Rao, President, NIIT University in an exclusive conversation with Careers360 discusses about the advantage Institutions of Eminence will have, he also shares his thoughts on the areas New Education Policy needs to focus besides other issues pertaining to higher education sector in India...
Q. Govt. is in the process of shortlisting 20 Institutions of Eminence (IoE), these institutions will be provided complete autonomy to excel. How do you look at this whole project?
A. Institutions of Eminence is a very good initiative by the government of India to help bring higher educational institutions selected as IoEs in top 500 of world ranking in the next 10 years and in top 100 eventually overtime.
The scheme will provide world class teaching and research facilities to Indian students within the country and enhance general level of education of the country. Other than a reasonably-flexible set of guidelines, IoEs will in fact be completely free of UGC regulations. Also, the government will provide up to Rs 1,000 crore to each of the public institutions. Private institutions will not receive any direct financial support from the government but will have access to public funds for research.
Q. Government is working on bringing a New Education Policy, what are key challenges it should address?
A. The new education policy should address modern challenges for students. It should take on the challenges posed by lack of quality, research and innovation in Indian institutions.
It should also address issues from pre-school till the highest levels and lay stress on basic skills at an early level. The focus should be on making variety of education streams available to the students. As there are just three options that student have after Class 10. They are stuck with Science, Arts or Commerce. Towards this, Indian education system should introduce combination courses in which students can opt for a major and a minor subject.
The other area that has to be pushed is entrepreneurship. Recognizing that there is a thrust on start-ups in India, progressive educational institutes should now train their students to be job creators rather than job seekers. Incubators is the new trend in Universities encouraging students to come up with winning entrepreneurial ideas.
Q. How do you look at the Importance of industry-aligned higher education?
A. Industry-aligned higher education is very important, to equip students with the skills that are relevant to the current industry requirements. Higher education institutes should provide industry sponsored programmes which are ‘co-created’ with a collaborating organisation to ensure that the students create value for the organisations.
Towards this, NIIT University has partnered with 421 industry leaders for its 6-month long Industry Practice course for all Undergraduate students during their four-year programs and also offers industry sponsored programs like MBA (Business Analytics) with WNS (Intelligent Data Sciences) with NIIT Technologies, MBA (Finance & Banking) with ICICI Bank, PGDBRM with Federal Bank, PGD (Banking & Finance) with United Bank of India, PGD (Banking & Finance) with Bank of Maharashtra and more. These programs will help young people and professionals to equip themselves with new age skills by working closely with the industry.
Q. Do you think research should be made an integral part of higher education at every level? How will it help the student community?
A. Research should be made an integral part of higher education at every level. Students investing in higher education must be given exposure and opportunities to be able to use all that knowledge to evolve themselves as well as be able to contribute in the discipline with better research and studies. Students when involved in research-based learning are bound to learn more and better than they would without the integration of research.
Research is at the core of the NU’s curriculum and we believe in engaging undergraduate scholars in research work through a well thought out course called the R&D Project. Students start working on research – right from year one at NU. The course aims to help them acquire research orientation that can be applied in their future jobs where there is a dire need for creative problem-solvers. Quite a few of our student start-ups have the genesis of their business from the research work done during various projects.
NU’s research efforts are further enhanced through creative collaborations with leading research institutes and consortia around the world. The faculty at NU is focused not only on carrying out fundamental research but also the applications that flow from it.
Q. How do you look at new age careers in business analytics/ data analytics?
A. The massive data explosion and the growing need of data analytics in business, education and government agencies have created the need for a new breed of professionals. Data Scientists who have expertise in such specialized areas such as machine learning, statistical modelling, data warehousing, predictive modelling and large-scale database architecture and management are in demand.
Towards this, we offer cutting-edge programmes in data sciences in association with industry leaders. B.Tech Computer Science Engineering with specialization in Data Science with IBM has been designed to create graduates already trained in data science therefore fulfilling the requirements of the industry. The students of this programme attend their 6-month long Industry Practice course in the eighth semester at IBM and got an opportunity to start working with IBM, post their internship. NU also offers MBA in Business Analytics with WNS, a leading provider of global Business Process Management (BPM) services. The programme is designed for students who have an aptitude for analytics and management and offers a guaranteed job at WNS in mid-managerial position.
NU also recently launched a two-year work-integrated MBA programme in Intelligent Data Science in partnership with NIIT Technologies. The MBA programme is focused on nurturing talented professionals to become next generation data science leaders who will drive business transformations.