“I think it’s important for teachers to bring about a transformation in a student. That is the beauty about the new education system that we are beginning to see, and the biggest beneficiary of this are the students, which makes me happy.”
How was your experience of establishing Rishihood University?
Building Rishihood University in the times when the world was going through major strikes due to the pandemic was a challenging job. There were several barriers that hindered the process. But, what kept us going was the belief that we were creating a university that is different from the rest.
The university’s vision and mission were created based on different philosophies which actually can guide the students to aim and achieve greater in the future.
You have so many years of experience in the field of education and academics. What is your take on the changes which have taken place in the higher education sector and Indian Education System over the years?
There have been changes but what we are seeing right now is a new shift in the academic sector especially after the new education policy. For me, the new education policy is nothing new as I have been trying to do what the policy says for the past 20-25 years and have now become part of the new education policy. I believe, what matters in an educational setup are the students and the teachers but what matters most is the experience of teachers to help the students’ journey through the new education policy. I think it’s important for teachers to bring about a transformation in a student and that is the beauty about the new education system that we are beginning to see and the biggest beneficiary of this is the student which actually makes me happy.
What is your view on the New Education Policy? How do you feel it is helpful to the students’ community?
Everything about the new education policy is actually good. But, I believe that policies themselves don’t make things happen but rather their implementation is what makes a difference. We can have great policies but they cannot be implemented. It’s like having great laws but people don’t follow them.
I hope the new education policy is implemented in the right spirit. One thing I strongly believe is that the owners of this policy is not just the government but the universities, colleges and the education system at large. They are ones primarily responsible for its implementation. Unless they become the drivers of the implementation, we can’t see the positivity of this policy.
What is your vision for this institution, Rishihood University?
My vision for the university is just in line with the vision that was created for the university from the beginning. My vision merges from my own personal life. The future of any country is actually dependent on the generation that is now in university. I believe, any country needs to have students who are good human beings, have a great sense of national pride, and should know what their country is, their origin, where they have come from, where they are going, and what role they can play to see their country moving forward.
My vision is basically students’ achievements, what they should have and I believe that students do better when they engage in other activities outside class. You can understand the subject in class but you cannot understand it best if you have not put it into practice.
When you graduate from this university and interact with people, they should recognise you by the values you acquire from here. I always envision that our students should make us proud one day but it’s our responsibility to transform you for your good, and for the world at large.
As an institution builder, you must have faced various challenges in the different universities that you have set up over the years. How did you overcome these challenges and what is your formula for success?
I am glad you asked this question. I am happy to talk about challenges. I think most of the time my challenges that I have faced in building universities have all been related to students and teachers, and the staff. I have always believed that the most important part of building a great university is to have great people that include students, teachers, staff and everyone. They should be kind to each other and be empathetic to others. That’s the ideal scenario.
But, in reality, most people are not aware of what they want; they’re not open, they’re not transparent, and are often scared or may be insecure. Students are scared to talk with teachers; teachers are scared to talk to representatives. The staff is scared to talk to faculty members. I don’t understand the reason! An organisation is nothing but a collection of people pursuing the same objective. Buildings don’t make organizations. Legally, an organization is a piece of paper. What gives life to universities or colleges if it’s not people? So, if we can manage to get people to come together and we are able to talk to each other and able to work with each other, we can indeed create a great institution. Whenever I faced a challenge, I thought to myself that I have to be the person to take the lead. And I feel fortunate that wherever I’ve worked, I have been able to create such an environment where people respect and trust each other.
Another challenge is people hesitant to share ideas. They fear that the idea won’t be appreciated, but the Vice-Chancellor always encourages faculty members and staff to open up and talk. The third challenge is being able to connect well with the students. Allow them to open up their hearts, share and become an essential part of their life and the progress they make. It’s also tough to guide every student in the same way as each one has different capabilities. But that’s the best thing, how you can encourage all kinds of students to create purpose and educate on a national and later a global level.
What role do you see the University playing on the national and international stage?
Building a university is not easy, and it can take hundreds of years to create one. It brings him a great sense of happiness knowing that Rishihood has objectives and many years of plans to furnish. Growth always happens slowly, first locally, then becoming the top university in the state, then within 50 national leagues, then becoming the top university in the country and finally getting recognised internationally.
There is a gestation period to achieve every stage. It takes 100 years to maintain a university, and it’s possible to become an internationally and globally recognised university, but you need to have the right goals and strategy.
Now, you’re going to achieve the same things that Princeton or Harvard are known for but in a new way and with less time. The role of teachers and students in building universities is important, and I think teachers never really retire from providing guidance.
Where shall we find you in retirement?
Well, I don’t think teachers retire, they may change their roles. I may not be building universities in the future but I would stay connected to my students, who are today working with big firms and senior positions. I will continue supporting and guiding them. It makes me really happy to keep on achieving objectives and write books and make a difference in various ways. So, I don’t really have a retirement plan.
As a visionary, what message do you wish to give to the RU family for times to come?
Continue to focus on the basics of education, work towards improving our educational system and create Rishihood University as a high-end experience. At this stage, I don’t even want to look beyond the boundaries. Over a while, we should continue to strive to research well, find good teachers, gather sufficient funds for facilities, amenities, and a great campus experience.
Many of our students will go out and create products, do something inspiring and create some new elements. Together, we have a great nation with a great centre of excellence. I think that Rishihood University is blessed and will take leadership.
Rishihood University is a well-established, fine institution, and it has a collaborative culture in which students and teachers work together and support each other.
Namayanja Bernadette Claire (MBA) and Ashu Garg (BBA), Rishihood University