“The skilling can happen only by including the students in each and every platform,” says Dr. Balakrishna P Shetty, Vice-Chancellor, Sri Siddhartha Academy of Higher Education in an interview with Chandan Anand, Founding Editor, ArdorComm Media Group at the ‘ArdorComm – Higher Education and Edtech Conclave & Awards 2022’ #HEETbengaluru
During this last few years of struggling times how have your university under your leadership sailed off and have made the teaching learning process quite feasible for everybody?
We had two problems one is we had a technical college as well as a medical college. As well the technical college doing online program, online education was very easy like technology students are so much enthusiastic they could learn online but as far as the medical college is considered we had a tough time because a doctor has to see the patient it cannot be done online and also surgeries also cannot be done online so talking to the patient interacting with the patient and examining the patient all those things was a very tough time for our students during this covid time but some how we managed by getting all those software where we can see the patient, we can see various diseases online and also we can see something like artificial intelligence and augmented reality, virtual reality. Although some of the software which really helped especially our students so our students could get virtual exposure to the patients. Of course, virtual exposure is not comparable to actual exposure, actual exposure is mandatory interacting with the patient looking at his eyes talking to him feeling him touching him makes a great difference but because of the digital innovations, digital advances our students could get some sort of exposure. The last two years that is 2019 and today we are in 2022 still we are not sure whether another wave is going to come or not but our students and faculty members lived up to that challenge and we could produce best of the students the best of the doctors from our university.
Would like to understand what is the focus of the university on skilling rather than the regular academics, regular process?
It is easy to talk about skilling, from the President of India to even a student and everybody talks about skilling, re-skilling, up skilling this is the buzzword going on everywhere. The skilling can happen only by including the students in each and every platform, let us say today you have a program we’ll call our students and ask them to do the program now let’s say we had one program on drug abuse and we asked the students to speak about it not the vice chancellor speak about it not the faculty will speak about, the students will speak about. So, skilling is I feel only one methodology involve the student in each and every program of the university program of the institution. I heard that there was one great innovative where one chief minister made one-person chief minister for one day, similarly you should make student a faculty for a day, HoD for a day a Principal for a day or a Vice Chancellor for a day that will be a great thing in skilling not just by talking.
How does such kind of forums where you can see the amalgamation of government, academia and industry how does it help the society at large?
it helps a lot because we keep speaking because we are experts in giving suggestions and recommendations but we are very poor in implementing. Implementations and sustainability is the biggest challenge for us for that there is involvement there is a commitment there is a moral responsibility for the teacher, faculty and students to do something then only I think something will happen otherwise we will again become the clericals the clerks which were produced in the British government. British wanted Indians to be only clerks, they never wanted a skill because they had the technology there, they never wanted a skill to develop in India. So, we need to have the inclusiveness that is very important.
Today we are celebrating first anniversary of ArdorComm Media, any message would you like to give to ArdorComm Media?
I’ve been attending so many higher education meetings but I would like to say ArdorComm Media is something unique. I’m not saying because you are asking this question but I’ve been experiencing the way the panels are conducted the way faculty members speak even sometimes I have seen today the student is speaking so these are something different as far as ArdorComm is doing so I request you to continue this, include as many students as possible, student representatives, the stakeholders as much as possible not only the vice chancellor so that involvement, inclusiveness innovations the three eyes is very important.