Being a part of ITBHU for one Day !!!!

Posted: September 26, 2010 in Uncategorized
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25 September 2010

“We do not remember days, we remember moments” – Cesare Pavese

Its a wonderful thing to meet people from diverse backgrounds in life and learn from them. All this comes to you as a gift when you are in the media profession!

It is not the days, but the  moments that this profession has given me, which i know i will remember and cherish for my whole life.

I spent such moments again yesterday when i was invited to attend alumni meet of ITBHU, one of the most respected institutions of our Country and also write about the panel discussion that happened as a part of the get together. It was great to see such an intellectual exchange of ideas among people on an event like an alumni meet!!! Meeting people as senior as pass outs of 79 batch was an experience in itself….and sharing ideas and thoughts with them a delight!

Here’s my write up on the evening………….

PANEL DISCUSSION ON “MAKING INDIA’S EDUCATION SYSTEM ACCOUNTABLE TO INDIA ” – ITBHU ALUMNI MEET 23 SEPTEMBER 2010

Continuing their legacy of cherishing the old college time memories, combining it with the generous thought of giving back to the society, the IIT-BHU, or rather I should say IT-BHU alumni got together on 24th September at Habitat Centre at their annual meet. I say IT-BHU because most of the people I met at the meet were not happy about their alma mater rechristened as an IIT as everyone believes BHU has set targets for IITs to follow unlike the reverse! And being a non IT BHU guest at the meet, I could not agree to that more! It was the most unusual alumni get together I have ever seen in my life!!! And I am glad I have been given the opportunity to write about the proceedings of yesterday’s meet by Mr Sunil Garg, an alumnus of It BHU who I happen to know through previous events conducted together.

I choose not to write this as a plain boring after-event summary kind of a write up as the evening I spent yesterday was pretty more interesting than I had thought! The excerpts of the discussion and meet yesterday are a firsthand experience of an outsider who was introduced to the BHU brand first time in her life. Not that I have not heard of it before, but meeting the real people who have studied at such a reputed institute is different. The eclectic mix of IT BHU alumnus I met yesterday was nothing less than fascinating. And I got to know the reason behind it….BHU offers every course that you can imagine on its campus. The learning obviously reflected…..and it was heartening to see the sense of belonging to the alma mater everyone had and the bond that each and every one shared.

The evening started with something I would remember for my life time. The melodious recital of the BHU kulgeet “मधुर मनोहर अतीव सुन्दर यह सर्वविद्या की राजधानी” by all the alumni, standing in respect for their alma was a delight to see. I am sure it must have taken back everyone to their college days, as I went back down my memory lane of my school and college time.  Mr Pramod Joshi introduced the Moderator for the Panel Discussion, Mr Mark Runacres, India Adviser, Confederation of British Industry, who has also been part of alumni events before. The topic for the discussion this time was “Making India’s Education System Accountable to India”. Mr Onkar Gupta shared with us how the topic is so pertinent in these times when we have education everywhere but the quality of man power is dwindling, reason the accountability of the education system.

Since the beginning of the event, I had been thinking about this unusual alumni meet where people have gathered not only to meet each other but also discuss on a socially relevant issue. Mark began the session, by seconding my thoughts. He said “It’s great to see an alumni meet where people are not only sharing drinks but intellectual ideas and thoughts as well and it’s rare to find these kinds of activities”. The panel comprised of leaders in the education and management sector. We had Prof. S Ranganathan, Mr M.K.Kaw, Mrs. Lata Vidyanathan, Mr Manish Gupta, Mr Dheeraj Mathur, Mr Dwarka Nath and Professor B B Dhar on the panel.

Mark gave a start to the discussion by sharing that Education is something we all in our lives receive, any class of society we belong to. While Indian professionals are respected worldwide, Indian Institutes still do not have mention anywhere when we talk about world class institutes like Cambridge, Wharton, MIT, Harvard etc. Though there is a long way to go, progress is happening with examples like London Business School where not only we have a good strength of Indian students but 10 percent members in the governing council and Faculty are Indians as well.

The panellists then shared their thoughts on the subject. Ms Vaidyanathan pondered over the fact that Accountability is an essential bridge between expectations and outcome. She thinks Right to education bill should have come long time ago and it’s a necessity to make our schooling system much more accountable and deliverable. Though we have institutes with great infrastructure and facilities, it’s the quality of education imparted in these institutes that matters. Being a diehard optimist, Ms Vaidyanathan is positive of India’s future and believes the young generation definitely has a lot of potential.

Prof B B Dhar started on a light note sharing that he was not really supposed to speak at the panel but the organizers have pinned him down to share his views J. None the less, he shared in very brief things which he feel matter the most. He spoke about the Change at the Grass root level. While he is happy about the way an individual has choices for higher education in India today, with so many engineering colleges and other colleges available, the neglect at the junior level perturbs him. He is of belief that trained manpower is the need of the hour today and all the higher level education institutes need to realize that.

Next was Mr Dwarkanath who has been in the HR field for more than 30 years. Having experience only in the management side, he chose to speak about the never ending Rat race for an MBA degree in India. There are more than 2000 MBA institutes today, but apart from few, there are none delivering skilled manpower. He also brought on the floor a very unique perspective of “skills updation”. In today’s world when things are changing every moment, professionals in India never think about updating themselves with latest trends and technologies. Along with good education it’s very important to keep oneself updated, in order to march ahead in the global scenario.

Mr Kaw, with his huge experience in this sector, stressed on how both government and non government players have to be accountable for their services. The bureaucracy in the govt education sector is the biggest malaise in India’s education scenario. Its more regulatory than facilitatory, he said.  But all this can be taken care of if we hire the best talent in the top brass. As values and ethics flow down from top to bottom, if our officers at the top are honest and mindful, change is definitely not difficult, he expressed.

Mr Mathur, who has himself, spent around 26 years in the public sector told that there are initiatives made the by the government, but the challenge is effective implementation. We need an ecosystem where all the govt. and non govt. entities are held accountable, an ecosystem where transparency and smooth facilitation of reforms are taken care of. Another challenge is that most of our education sector has vested interests of politicians. Many of the institutes in India today are being run by politicos, thus making it extremely difficult to keep a check. He also shared his desire of allowing foreign universities to come in.

Last but not the least; it was Mr Ranganathan on the dais. Prof started by changing the topic of the discussion itself. His interest was to speak for his alma mater and how can they change the present scene there. Thus he spoke on how education system can be reformed and made accountable in BHU. He shared his vision with the founder of Banaras Hindu University of making it a world class institution. While BHU has a name for itself, he said there is a need for the university to make its presence globally felt and rise high in the rankings. I loved his thoughts on how India has been the pioneer of education, as we created most ancient Nalanda and Takshila universities, but over the years we have probably forgotten our legacy of quality education. “It would be delighting to see BHU an actual “Capital” or “Rajdhani” of education, providing not just good but the best education anyone could ask for”, he said.

Though all the 7 panellists finished speaking, there were many among the audience to share their views as well on a sensitive issue. I really admired Mr. Sanat Vajpai’s idea of giving importance to Discipline in education. While we excel in academics, we generally don’t care about basic etiquettes and that’s where we need a great effort by our education system. Mr Sunil Garg also raised a very valid question of improving the standards and facilities for vocational trainings. He suggested we should have more ITI’s as a core part of educational system so that there are more people who get jobs by being trained in industry skills. I ( though not a BHU alumnus) also couldn’t stop myself from questioning the neglect that the education system has towards a very important sector like media in this country, but no doubts, ideas, suggestions, complaints were floating around after an intellectually igniting discussion and there was dearth of time!

While points and thoughts kept going on, Mark ended the discussion with my last question and with his unique humour skills, did not hesitate to comment that one thing Indians definitely know is expressing themselves in full details!!! It was definitely not the end, but a beginning in many minds on how the education sector in India needs a change to make it more accountable.

The discussions however continued and it was nice to see people bonding over the drinks engrossed in deep conversations. While it was great to hear discussions on various things, I really loved it when I saw a 2007 batch alumni taking sales tips from a 92 batch pass out. And that’s where the importance of these get together’s lie the most. Networking is such an essential part of our lives today and it’s these forums that facilitate it the most. And what more can you ask for when the person who can guide you, advice you comes from the same alma mater!!! The bonding definitely happens at a surreal levelJ.

I hope the legacy continues…..

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Comments
  1. […] Being a part of ITBHU for one Day !!!! September 2010 LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

  2. DK says:

    Gr8 expression

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