Research needed for developing employable human resources — ICFAI University VC
Dimapur, Aug. 21 (EMN): Most of the high-ranking universities around the world tend to highlight ‘research’ as one of the most distinguished and competitive strengths for imparting quality education, said Dr. Arun Kumar Verma, Vice Chancellor of ICFAI University, Nagaland.
Verma, who is also the founding member of executive council, North Eastern Space Applications Centre (Nesac) in Shillong, Meghalaya, shared his thoughts and experience related to education system, scientific approaches and benefits for the state in an exclusive interview with Eastern Mirror.
He underscored the importance of research in education, saying that it instigates students to develop critical thinking, expertise, as well as effective analytical skills that are globally sought-after as impressive degree certificates.
“It is a well known fact that knowledge generated by research is the basis for sustainable development, which requires that knowledge be placed at the service of development, be converted into applications and be shared to ensure widespread benefits,” he said.
He went on to say that research is an important component of quality education for developing employable human resources in the context of Nagaland as well as the Indian sub-continent.
On the shift of nomenclature from pure science to social sciences humanities and management studies, he said that the change is a right approach as pure science required huge investment for development of infrastructure in order to carry out research, whereas scientific application to multi-domains for societal mission is more important and required minimal investment.
Verma added that developing countries like India may not be able to focus on research activities in pure science but the application of science and technology has provided visible impact by translating the requirements of the society.
Pandemic as an opportunity
“This pandemic has affected everyone, which includes the educational institutions and how to move the institute or government ahead from a scientific point of view,” he said, adding that it had paved the way for adopting digital technology by institutions and opened a new era of online education, where domain experts from any part of the globe could involve in improving the quality of education in the Indian sub-continent.
“The government is expected to design measures to control the pandemic as well as to facilitate the digital network. The pandemic has given the opportunity to educational institutions to evolve the potential of digital technology for imparting quality education,” he shared.
On education system in Nagaland
When asked about the education system in Nagaland and if there is a need to reform the existing educational model, Verma opined that the system should move from traditional to application-oriented in order to meet the demand-driven requirement by incorporating multispecialty skill-oriented models in the curriculum.
He added that in order to bring change in the existing education system, proper requirement analysis as well as demand-driven analysis for multi-disciplinary application-oriented courses were required to be carried out for better understanding of human resource gap vis-à-vis market-driven requirement, so that employable human resource in various specific application area could be generated.
In order to carry out a proper data analysis, the entire supply chain management of HR requirements at a global level is required to be understood to develop the reform model of education system in Nagaland, he added.
Vision for the state
Sharing about his vision and initiative towards education in Nagaland and contribution towards the growth of educational institutions, he said that he aims to develop technology-driven educational programmes in multi-domain and multi-disciplinary areas by understanding the requirement of the state apart from global requirement to produce quality human resource for the society, organisation, institutions and industry, so that they can contribute to the growth of the region.
He added that initiatives have been taken to bring professional courses in the field of Earth Science, Climate Science, Space Technology, Allied Healthcare and Life Science including Nano-Science to design the programme by analysing the requirement and trends under the umbrella of ICFAI University, Nagaland.
When asked about the development of research laboratories in the state, he said that it requires huge investment as well as expert human resources but educational institutions in the state could collaborate with the existing laboratories in India and carry out research to develop technology and products.
NESAC and its contribution
The vice chancellor shared that Nesac has been playing a catalytic role in carrying out various regional development projects and programmes in the field of remote sensing applications such as space-based disaster management for floods, landslides, forest fires etc.; education and tele-medicine, apart from atmospheric science and developmental communication.
He added that Nesac has matured in undertaking various programmes and was recently given the responsibility of providing solution regarding boundary of north-eastern states by using satellite maps.
In regard to adoption of modern tools like remote sensing and geographic information for enhancing the capabilities of the existing system of crop acreage, especially in the context of Nagaland’s geographical area, Verma said that monitoring growth of agriculture crops during the harvesting period by using spaceborne Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) images of the NE region at periodical intervals would provide information on crop health, which can be used for enhancing the crop acreage as well as prediction of crop yield.
He added that monitoring of crops growth by using spaceborne SAR sensors at periodical intervals during their revisit of the satellite were used these days for forecasting the crop yield by Nagaland through the expertise available with Nesac.
Research development situation in NE
The vice chancellor, who had worked as a cadre of scientific service at the Defense Research Development Organisation (DRDO) and other related fields, also shared about research development situation in NE in general and Nagaland in particular.
He said that research and development activities in the Northeast region had seen considerable growth in the last two decades, which he stated is evident from the activities carried out by different research institutions, organisations, state universities, central universities, private universities such as Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati, RIMS in Imphal, Nagaland University, Manipur University, Assam University Silchar, and NEHU in Shillong to name a few.
In Nagaland, the presence of ICFAI University, St. Joseph University, Global Open University, North East Christian University and many other institutions in allied healthcare science has paved the way for carrying out research in various fields in order to develop quality and employable human resource in the state, which can be used as the driver of main engine for development, he shared.