Seminar on ‘Academia- Corporate Interface for Upskilling Leaders of Tomorrow ’

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The PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry in collaboration with the School of management, Doon University organized a seminar at the Senate Hall in the Doon University campus on Saturday, 8th September, 2012. This seminar proved to be a step towards strengthening the bond between the academia and the industry. It turned out to be a platform where the ideas from both the Industry and the Academia were put together. The brainstorming discussions were enjoyed by students and the panelists equally. The major themes of the Seminar were “Synergy between Industry-academia relationship to bridge the skill gap” and “Industry intervention and linkages in curriculum reforms & learning outcomes”. To address these two significant and broad themes, the Seminar was held in three sessions as mentioned below:

 

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Session 1- Inaugural Session

Session 2- Synergy between Industry-academia relationship to bridge the skill gap

Session 3- Industry intervention and linkages in curriculum reforms & learning outcomes

Here, I have summarized the seminar in the form of Session wise notes/ minutes.

Session 1- Inaugural Session  

With the Blessings of Maa Saraswati, the seminar was inaugurated by lightening of the lamps by Prof. V.K. Jain, Vice Chancellor of Doon University and the panelists from both Academia and the Industry; Mr. Jatinder Singh, Secretary, Education Committee, PHD Chamber; Mr. Ajit K Motwani, CEO-Education Business, Salwan Media & Advisor, Knowledge Consortium, Govt. of Gujrat and others. The Session Moderator for this session was Mr. Anil Taneja, Resident Director, Uttarakhand, PHD Chamber.

 Doon University Programme1

 

Mr. Jatinder Singh explained the theme and rationale of the seminar in detail and told about the importance of the use of the potential the students carry for the betterment of the Industry and especially the MSMEs.

Stressing on sensitizing students, he said, “Until and unless we are able to sensitize our students about the local SME sectors, we will not be able to achieve the desired growth”.

 He also mentioned about the disconnect which is present on the attitudes of the people from Gen Y, Gen 2 and Gen 1 and said that in order to have a better Industry-Academia relationship, the behavior of the Gen Y should be understood empathetically.

He placed high importance to proper training and internship and advised both academia and industry to encourage internships in a more serious fashion.

Bringing in light the “Demographic Dividend”, phenomenon evident in India at present, he said that the average age in India is 25 years today and so India can be called as a young country. Hence, it would be a wise step to utilize the tremendous energy present in the youth for the benefit of the Industry.

He laid emphasis on youngsters working in the MSME sector and not be scared of making their hands dirty or be shy of the ‘blue color jobs’.

Professor V.K. Jain took forward the inaugural session andwelcomed the audience, the panelists and the distinguished guests present in the seminar. He expressed his concern over the lack of employability skills in the increasing number of pass-outs from universities, institutes and even the IITs every year. He said that the academia must take this responsibility seriously and strive for building valuable workforce for the overall development of the nation.

He said, “The teaching done in the universities must make students competitive in this Global Knowledge Economy”. He laid stress on creating ‘Innovation Clusters’ with the partnership of the institutions of higher learning and the R&D labs and suggested that ‘incubation centre’ must be developed for funding the R&D centres. Stressing on the importance of internships, he said that not only the students but also the institutions must be valuing internship as it gives a firsthand experience of the industry. He suggested that trainings and internships must be properly institutionalized with a formal set-up as it is the most important activity during the study years. He also mentioned the importance of utilizing the resources like library and advised the academia and the industry to mutually share the resources and help each other grow.   

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Addressing the audience, Mr. Ajit K Motwani said, “Industry use the Human Resources that is created in the academic institutions and so must take initiatives and interfere in the teaching system to produce better results and the universities must be encouraged to be constantly involved in research and development”.

He told about the importance and benefits of internships for both students and industry. He suggested that the industry can plan their internship in such a way that can make the students understand the contemporary industrial processes. He advised the students to be active and own up things. Be passionate and learn as much as they can.

He laid stress on the ‘soft skills’ and told the students that the dearth of soft skills can make them loose their job. He told that today’s need is to connect the ‘Learn’, ‘unlearn’ and ‘relearn’ and the industry and academia must work together to achieve the common goal.

He left the students with a beautiful advice, “Think out of box! Follow your passion and excel in whatever you do!”

The Inaugural Session ended with a ‘Thank you’ address by Mr. Virendra Kalra. In his Thank You speech he highlighted that not the number but the quality of students will make the difference and laid stress on the practical application of the theory. He said that the industry should communicate its expectations to the academia. They must provide case studies to the students and the intensity of the student-industry interaction must be increased.  

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Session 2- Synergy between Industry-academia relationship to bridge the skill gap

This session was chaired by Prof. Durg Singh Chauhan, Vice Chancellor, Uttarakhand Technical University. He introduced the theme of this session and expressed his concern about the increasing gap between the industry and the institutions. He said that the industry must provide logistics and resources to the educational institutions. Handing over the microphone to Dr. Gopal Ranjan, DG, COER, Prof. Durg Singh wished the participants his best and started the Second Session with much enthusiasm.

While presenting his thoughts, Dr. Gopal Ranjan said that the use of science and technology will be the key to compete and excel in business. He said that the Nations that have attained mastery over knowledge production and its dissemination will be the leaders. He explained the need of creating a strong Social and Economic structure in India and said that the major strength of India is its huge human resource. Mentioning the significant growth in the number of institutions, he stressed on focusing more on ‘creativity’ and ‘innovation’. He pointed out some challenges in higher education that need to won over-

  1. Attract and retain highest quality faculty.
  2. Inculcate the culture of research and innovation.
  3. Address autonomy related issues.
  4. Address fee related issues.
  5. Address responsibility related issues, especially in developing countries.
  6. Attract funding from industry. etc.

He said that the new innovative India must teach its youth to represent the nation in a better way by using their strength, vitality and vigor. He suggested students to aspire to become true innovators must become the people who “do not know that it cannot be done”

He advised the students to “see what everyone else sees but think what no one else thinks”.

He gave a ‘3 TI’ mantra to the industry and academia:

TI- Think India

TI- Team India

TI- Total Innovation

Taking the session further, Prof. Durg Singh called upon Mr. Mukesh Goyal, Haridwar Head, Hero MotoCorp. to address the students.

Mr. Mukesh Goyal, though his speech, told the students about the importance of soft skills and values like integrity, sincerity, discipline, hard work and honesty. He said that the students must be taught ‘corporate ethics’ and character building must be given highest level of attention. He said that the teachers must strive to become the role-models for their students by following values and encouraging the students to do the same. He gave an insight to the phenomenon of ‘cost competitiveness’ that has made China successful in business. He said that the huge variety of products provided by China at cheap rates had made it a success in the foreign markets.

To take forward the discussion, Prof. Chauhan called Dr. Santosh Rangekar, HoD Management, IIT Roorkee. He said that the course curriculum must be designed after consulting the industry inorder to enhance the industry linkage with teaching. He stressed on making students industry specific. He said that both the academia and the industry must identify the training needs and must cater to them efficiently. He suggested that there should be guest lectures at regular basis and the institutes must provide training programmes in partnership with industry. He said that the course contents should encourage innovative practices. He held that the research scholars must be encouraged by the industry and the industry must make the full use of the research scholars.

He suggested that the institutions must have Major Research Projects (MRP) and advised the industry to get associated with the management departments of the academic institutions. He said that talent management and human resource creation must be two of the most important tasks of the academia and the industry.

Professor Aman Agarwal, Vice Chairman & Prof. Finance, Indian Institute of Finance, Delhi carried the brainstorming ahead and contributed his valuable thoughts in the discussion. He said that for building a strong bond between the industry and academia, the gap between what is taught and what industry needs must be bridged. Both in academia and industry, stress should be given on ‘discussion, thinking and creation’. He believed that active thinking is required to excel in any field. He said that Human resource is not manufactured but is created with values.

The last speaker of the session was Mr. S.K. Sharma, ONGC. He talked at length about ‘skill gap’ and mentioned an example from his firm. He said that for 450 openings ONGC 80,000 applications but this huge number of applications could not fill the posts and the major reason was ‘lack of employability skills’ in the applicants. He said that communication between industry and institute should become more intense. He explained to the students the importance of ‘soft skills and values’. He said that more input should be taken from the industry and also that the interaction must take place in the premises of industry for a better exposure. He suggested that teachers must visit industry frequently to know about the latest developments in order to keep their students updated. He said that learning should be interdependent between industry and academia and so there more collaborative projects are required. He also advised the students to participate and attend the activities taking place in college.    

Lunch was announced and the experts of their respective fields and students had lunch and discussed informally about various issues related to the theme of the previous session.

 

Session 3- Industry intervention and linkages in curriculum reforms & learning outcomes

The Chairperson to the Session 3 was Dr. V. Pathak, Vice Chancellor, UOU.

He called Mr. Prashant Kala, ED, Bishop Calsons as the first speaker to this session. Mr. Prashant Kala talked about turning the challenges of growth into opportunities. He mentioned that only a very small percentage of students are industry ready and expressed his concern on the huge shortage of skilled manpower. He said that focused HR industry programmes are required where skill development is of utmost importance. He suggested that the institutions must keep a track of their alumni. He emphasized on frequent visits to industry inorder to bridge the gap and also suggested that not only the students but also the teachers must take internship programmes and polish their knowledge from time to time. According to him, the HR trainers from industry should visit institutes for lectures and joint efforts like training and awareness programmes, academic and institution mergers, CSR activities etc should be done.

The next speaker of the session was Prof. Sanjay Jasola, Vice Chancellor, GEHU. He was very impressed with the theme of this session and explained the term ‘Learning outcomes’. He said that learning outcomes implies to something that is measurable and can be demonstrated. He said that all the educational institution must have teaching system based on learning outcomes. He suggested that Industry’s expectations should be identified and then the courses should be designed.

Mr. Ajit Motwani, who took the discussion further said that it is very important to define industry’s short, medium and long term goals and expectations. He talked about the support that the academia and industry must provide each other. Pointing out a major difference between the academia and the industry, Motwani said, “Patience in academia is unlimited but patience in industry does not exist”. He said that today’s generation should “learn to learn”. He also noted that the attention span of today’s generation is very short and so the way of delivering the content to the students should be done in a creative way preferably through technologies. He stressed on the role of teachers as ‘mentors’. He said, that today, information comes flooded from all side and so the students have to deal with more information than that they can handle. So, the mentors play an important role by guiding the students what information they should use and what not.

 The next speaker, Mr. B S Sehrawat, HR Head ACME Tele Power Ltd. emphasized on the importance of ‘soft skills’ and said that the curriculum for management and engineering courses must be made in such a way that it would be able to fulfill the needs of both academia and industry.

The session came to an end with the presentation of a very enthusiastic and energetic speaker, Mr. SK Patra, CEO, Patanjali Food Park who was given comparatively less time but he managed to win the hearts of the students with his fine speaking skills and oration. He talked about ‘creating jobs’. He said, “Gaining knowledge is important but putting that knowledge to work is more important”. He stressed on the development of employees working at each level in a company.

the day ended with an informal and interactive question- answer session and then went for a nice cup of tea together. 




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