In conversation with Higher Education Plus, Dr. N.C. Wadhwa, Vice Chancellor of Manav Rachna University shares the efforts of his institution in making students employment-ready.
What steps MRIIRS have taken in order to make student industry-ready?
We have a Career Management and Corporate Relations Management Centre which constantly strives for expanding the industry-academia interface, instilling enthusiasm and confidence amongst students aspiring towards a fulfilling career in the corporate. Also, we have students driving things and projects. In addition to this, our collaboration and integration with companies give the best to us.
Our institutions are actively engaged in research in several areas of Engineering, Basic and Applied Sciences, Management, Literature, Physiotherapy, Nutrition & Dietetics, Health, Energy and Environment, Manufacturing, Sports Rehabilitation, Architecture Design, among others. We have to our credit, over 3,300 research publications in International & National Journals as well as International & National Conferences. These include many papers listed in the Scopus database, Web of Science and Science citation index.367 patents have been filed/granted to our faculty and students.
More than 60 books have been authored by faculty and grants worth over Rs. 4 crore has been approved by sponsoring bodies including government bodies like Department of Science and Technology, Govt. of India; All India Council for Technical Education, Govt. of India; and Entrepreneurship Development Institute and Indian Council of Social Science Research, Ministry of HRD.
What kind of activities does the research wing of MRIIRS conduct in order to improve the quality of higher education in India?
Research and innovation are among the several ways to improve the quality of higher education in India. We are continuously working in this direction by promoting an entrepreneurial eco-system at the campus.
We have more than 50+ global academic collaborations for Research and Academic exchange programs. We also have tie-ups with Indian Oil Corporation, R&D Centre, Faridabad; Translational Health Science and Technology Institute, Faridabad; Council of Scientific & Industrial Research – Indian Institute of Petroleum, Dehradun; and National Institute of Immunology, New Delhi.
We have Eight Research and Innovation Clusters at the campus and have Centres of Excellence in collaboration with the reputed companies like SuKam, Mitsubishi, Honda, SAP, Reliance Jio, and Sky Tester for enhancing research skills. We also have a Centre of Excellence in Sports Science and a Centre for Advanced Water Technology & Research. With all of these, our idea is to take research and innovation to a new level where ideas can be implemented in the real world.
Do you think the culture of innovation at universities compensates the deficit between industry and academia?
We believe that Innovation and Research have a major contribution in bridging the gap between academia and industry. With an increase in academic entrepreneurship, it has become necessary to provide the students with the relevant opportunities to research and innovate. We, at Manav Rachna, maintain the conducive environment for the free exchange of ideas and to catalyze the potential ideas to be transformed into organizations.
To speed up the growth of startups and early-stage companies, New Gen IEDC has also been established at the campus. The Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India (EDII) working under the aegis of National Science and Technology Entrepreneurship Development Board, Department of Science and Technology, GoI has given a funding of Rs 2.67 crore to New Gen IEDC to accelerate its activities for encouraging research, innovation, and entrepreneurship among students. Under this initiative, around 100 start-ups shall be supported over a period of five years.
M/S Tricho Agronica Pvt. Ltd., a company incubated at the Manav Rachna campus has been awarded a grant of Rs. 1.72 Cr for its novel, innovative and eco-friendly solution against fungal pathogens in Tomato cultivation. It is noteworthy that MRIIRS has been declared as the ‘Best Knowledge Creation and Innovation University’ by Assocham National Education Excellence awards 2018.
How do you think co-curricular activities at universities lead to a holistic development of students?
The competitive modern world demands students to be trained in all the domains rather than being confined to their specific domain. Co-curricular activities when coupled with academics prepare a student to be holistic. By participating in various activities, students discover their interests besides developing values and competencies that prepare them for a rapidly changing world.
We, at Manav Rachna, strive to enhance holistic development in students through co-curricular activities on the basis of five aspects which include intellectual, emotional, spiritual, physical and social.
At an institution like Manav Rachna, strong academics, research, employability, skill development, value system, community connect and collaboration — everything has to go hand in hand. We have achieved an amazing alchemy of such diverse influences and factors. Innovation, incubation, promoting an entrepreneurial eco-system and mentoring students run deep within the system at Manav Rachna.
Any reforms made by MRIIRS for the students of Tier 2 or Tier 3 cities!!
Manav Rachna, under the aegis of Dr. O.P. Bhalla Foundation, is dedicated to improving the quality of Life of People, Nation and the World through inclusive growth and development of society and its people. We have adopted Mohna Village to cater to its different segments with various training and developmental initiatives. Training for Computer Literacy through Cloud Computing shall be given to the students at the village Community Centre. The latest additions include the establishment of a Library.
Behavioral training is also provided to the villagers via workshops to improve their Communication, Language, and Spoken English. They will also be trained to make bio-fertilizers, worm composting, mushroom cultivation and grow exotic fruits and flowers.
In addition to this, the faculty members take guest lectures in Government schools and colleges in order to enhance skill development among the students. As per the norm of HRD Ministry for Government School Students, several training sessions are also conducted for the students to give them optimum knowledge about IT Cyber Security.
What kind of changes do you think are required in the curriculum of conventional graduate and undergraduate programmes?
With the world being more competitive and new technologies coming into existence, it is necessary to bring changes in the curriculum of conventional graduate and undergraduate programs simultaneously in order to keep the students updated and upgrade their skill set.
Conventional curriculum leaves no space for students to work on enhancing their skills. This obsolete curriculum needs to be modified as per the requirements of the industry to produce industry-ready students. Experiential learning needs to be mandated for all the programs along with regular hands-on exercises followed by theoretical learning.
Are there any measures taken to make higher education affordable for underprivileged students?
We have been following the tradition of producing students who are industry-ready and holistic. Besides, we have a provision for helping underprivileged students to make higher education affordable for them. We offer scholarships and fee concessions to the underprivileged students with a passion to do something.
At Manav Rachna, we give way to their ceaseless passion by Institutional Social Responsibility (ISR) activities. Adoption of Mohna Village is one of our prime project, an initiative under the aegis of Dr. O.P. Bhalla Foundation. To cater to the different segments of Mohna Village, the Foundation has come up with different training and developmental initiatives for specific segments. Training for Computer Literacy through Cloud Computing shall be given to the students at the village Community Centre.
The latest additions include the establishment of a Library. Behavioral training is also provided to the villagers via workshops to improve their Communication, Language, and Spoken English. They will also be trained to make bio-fertilizers, worm composting, mushroom cultivation and grow exotic fruits and flowers. It is significant that we have also been privileged with the 4-star rating for social responsibility by QS Rating System.
Any message you would like to share with young students!!
I would like to convey to the present young generation that they should keep honing their skills (both hard and soft skills) and rise to the occasion. Upgrading their skills as per the latest technologies and developments happening around the world can increase their employability chances.
With a focus on becoming a global citizen, they shall gain comprehensive outlook and would be able to work for the society they are living in. Students should attain values that enable them to face global challenges besides transforming them into insightful and responsible citizens. Prior to everything, their aim should be creating a better ‘human being’ out of themselves