Raghav Kansal and Aayush Aggarwal in candid conversation with Honourable Vice Chancellor of Uttrakhand Technical University:
Prof. D.S. Chauhan.
The name needs no introduction. From a loving and one of the most revered professor at IT – BHU to the Vice Chancellor of UPTU, he served at various high profile positions before Joining Uttrakhand Technical University as Vice Chancellor. He has been a protagonist in shaping, developing and uplifting the education status of North India and taking it to next level. His career has been rightfully highlighted by various awards and achievements. He has been member, NBA-executive AICTE, (2001-04)-NABL-DST executive (2002-05) and member, National expert Committee for IIT-NIT research grants. Currently He was Member, University Grant Commission (2006-09). He has been member, CAPART, National executive and chairman central zone, Lucknow from (2001-2004). He has been nominated by UGC as chairman of Advisory committees of three medical universities. Dr Chauhan got best Engineer honor of institution of Engineer in 2001 at Lucknow. But there is more to his personality and aura than these awards and achievements. Very few people know that he was the only person to be elected as the President of student union without any campaigning. It was he who initiated the privatization of Engineering colleges in UP. He has been to various places all over the world as guest speaker, scientist and lecturer, but his love for India and the passion with which he speaks about the importance of education in transforming India, is highly motivating.
Our team got a chance to interview him and know him better. Here are some interesting snippets from the interview:
From Dholpur, Rajasthan to Vice Chancellor at UKTU, it has been a journey of success, glory and lots of achievements. How has the experience been so far?
It has been a very fascinating journey from BHU to various universities. While I was in BHU I had gone to America for my Post Doctorate training and later on I joined various state universities which gave me lot of insights on the various aspects of education.
You have been to USA, Canada and various countries in Asian continents. What is it that we can learn from the education system of these countries?
Every country has its own evolution of education. They have their own language and they just evolved it. India is a country where alien language is the medium of instruction. It consumes lot of imaginative power of students. Social, family and economic background plays a role in learning the alien language. Therefore the Indian genius, those who can wonder the whole world, they are totally confused over the language.
Can’t these changes be implemented in India?
India now cannot go back. Because the colonial rule made various changes in India. The person who is leading or ruling this country is of British mindset and therefore language of instruction won’t change. The advance countries like USA, Canada etc. where the medium is very dominant and they are getting benefit out of it.
Language barrier which is more dominant than the laboratory barrier has to be overcome and some concrete steps have to be taken in this direction. The higher educated class should be taught to write and communicate in the medium as demanded by various journals all over the world.
In last few years the no. of engineering colleges here has almost doubled. Can we assume this as strong signs of improvement in education scenario in India?
Beginning it was only the arts. Then Science came, commerce came and now it is the era of engineering and technology. So as now you watch 22,500 colleges teaching commerce and art and nobody bothers for the employment. So the same thing will happen with the engineering colleges.
It’s sort of happening sir.
We are having only 2100 engineering colleges, and only 10 percent students opt for science, but as the fascination towards sciences will increase, so will increase the need for these colleges. We are preparing for the future. The coming era will be dominated by engineering and technology. Thus the increase in no. of engineering college s is a highly positive growth. India is a young nation. IIT and NITs only, are not sufficient to meet the rising demand of engineers all over the world.
What are your views on privatization of the education sector?
When I joined as the Vice Chancellor of UP Tech, that time only 13 colleges were there and the entire North India masses were going south and spending lot of money. The reason was that there were private colleges in the south. In 1998 we started private colleges and in the entire span of ten years we brought private organization into the engineering education and for the first time semester system was implemented on a mass scale. Something which was never thought of. About 1.5 lakh students appeared for the semesters exams. This was the art and science of my success which I developed in tenure of 6 years. It is still functional and even south is adopting it. By 2020, all these private colleges will be as good as any govt. colleges, but till then we have to wait.
You have also been an engineering student from one of the best institute of the country IT BHU. Any interesting anecdote you remember from your student days?
I was a very popular student of IT BHU. And in 1974 I was the president of BHU also. I was alone who never went for convincing and still won solely due to my popularity. It was first time that happened in BHU that the boy took the ideal stand I will not convince anybody to caste me vote. If you know me and my ideals then vote for me. I was given the highest vote in the history of IT BHU.
And then I brought lot of changes. Admission to IT BHU through JEE was implemented due to our initiative. The placement office was also our contribution. We completely stopped ragging which was not even thought to be possible.
I was the first academic president of IT BHU. And I am the only person from the whole lot, who is a Vice Chancellor. Others are all MLAs.
What are the qualities that you expect in an engineering aspirant?
They must follow the ideals of Mahmanna Pundit Madan Mohan Malviya ji.
They should make a resolution that they will be engineers not for themselves but for the society and the country.
What is your take on entrepreneurship?
Students should not beg jobs, but give job. The Khaitan Wala was my classmate and has a business worth rupees thousands of Crores. I am very open for the adventurous and entrepreneurial life.
Any message you want to give to the students.
Move ahead with courage, conviction and confidence. And you can rule the entire world.