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Pankaj Mittal: Enabling Change Management In Higher Ed

Mittal is optimistic about the move and says, “Eight to ten lakh students go everywhere every year out of India to study in foreign universities

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At a time when the National Education Policy is remodelling the higher education system, Four-year degree courses, academic bank of credits, multiple exit and entry points and dual degrees are being introduced and foreign universities are being allowed to open campuses, the Association of Indian Universities has a critical role to play in coordination between these universities and voicing their issues. The Secretary General of AIU is the dynamic Pankaj Mittal, possessing a great macro and micro vision of higher education.

The Association, which is 98-year-old and has been headed by stalwarts like Zakir Husain and Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, coordinates with the universities and works as a liaisoning organization between the government and the university. “It’s a voice of the universities for the government and if the government wants to implement anything in the education sector, they seek the help of AIU and we help them. We are implementing many, government policies,” says Mittal.

Holding conferences and round tables of vice-chancellors on important issues; organising capacity-building programmes on research, use of technology, pedagogy, assessment and evaluation; and engaging with students through sporting events. which are organised at national and international levels, level including Khelo India, and youth festivals are some of the activities of AIU.

Explaining the role that the AIU plays vis-à-vis the regulating body of the University Grants Commission, Mittal says the AIU is the facilitator. “Whatever regulations the UGC is issuing, we take it upon ourselves to implement those.” She cites the example of the recent regulation on entry of foreign universities in

India, wherein the AIU garnered feedback from the universities in this regard to facilitate the implementation.

Mittal is optimistic about the move and says, “Eight to ten lakh students go every year out of India to study in foreign universities. The money that Indian students are spending in their foreign education is equal to the education budget of India. So, if they can get foreign education on Indian soil, it will help us to save a lot of money. It will also facilitate foreign collaborations in many ways.”

On the NEP, with its credit point system and dual degrees, she says, “Students are being treated like kings in the National Education Policy in which they have all the options to study anytime, anywhere or any university, any programme.”

But she adds that with so many choices available, students will have to make a choice wisely, which will necessitate right counselling. The onus will be on students to make the right choices, when they are quite raw. She adds, “In this changed environment, every level, including administration, faculty, vice, chancellors, principles, students, would be affected and everybody has got through the process of change management.”

Pankaj Mittal, Secretary General, AIU.

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