What makes Dr. Muddu Vinay, VC, ICFAI University – THE WISE CHANCELLOR – Watch an exclusive conversation of insights and inspiration with Chetan Sharma, Founder Edumate.tv
Today a very special guest, all the way from the beautiful place in Dehradun, the ICFAI University. Heading that is Dr. Muddu Vinay, Ph.D., M.Sc. and he has been the Dean, IBS and Pro Vice Chancellor of University of ICFAI, Dehradun. He has 30 years of experience in education, training, planning, management and consultancy. Known to establish organisations and lead them to excellence. That has been the grand motto of Dr. Vinay. Presently he is the expert peer committee member, National Board of Accreditation, Government of India, New Delhi. He has also been the Chairman of IQAC, the International Quality Cell and Proctor, University of California, Berkeley Extension. He has spearheaded several postgraduate programmes in collaboration with leading schools in India , Australia, New Zealand, UK, Singapore and Malaysia. He is an expert member of various professional organization’s that include higher education, the UK India Education and Research Initiative, UKIERI, World bank and MHRD. What a pleasure to have you Sir on our show. Thank you for joining us
Covid has put to test almost everything that we have learnt in the past. And threatens to distort a lot we anticipate in the future. What’s your thought?
You see as far as ICFAI, Dehradun is concerned and when this Covid had attacked in the month of March. On March 21st the government of Uttarakhand told that all the educational institutions should be closed, and it is only a lockdown period. We have not had any issues with the Covid because technology has made us better than what we are face to face.
Sir, technology at your end may be good but that having been said. this maybe the external environment and this country is facing problems not just because you can disseminate technology but it requires all your students, and several of them are living in rural India as well, to have the devices to receive the technology, which unfortunately is not the case and the sinister digital divide looms large in front of us.
I agree to your point that most of the population in India is rural, i.e. 80%. They have about 2000 students. We have 4 ICFAI Business School, ICFAI Law School, ICFAI Tech School and ICFAI Education School. Almost 95% students are from outside Uttarakhand. Out of that 95% there are students that are from the remote areas. In the starting we faced problems with students from rural areas where they cannot connect the bandwidth or they don’t have internet. In this technology world Everybody has a smart phone but some of them do not know how to use it completely. So, what we did in this regard is that 20% of the students, who are not able to have this technology completely, have trained them in the different tools. So, we have identified the people who are not having the technology which they are not able to reach, we have taken that 20% and taken them separately and we made other alternative ways to get the knowledge to them.
That’s interesting. A model where you have most of the students from Uttarakhand is also very interesting. Perhaps, it makes a lot of sense, given that people from across the country flock to various places to study, not just India, even overseas. Of course, Dehradun is a beautiful valley to be in. Obviously be very encouraging. But that having been said I’m not sure that the Uttarakhand government would be happy about that because they also want a lot of Uttarakhand local residents to be studying. That’s one. Secondly, do you see this strategy being challenged because most of the University heads I have spoken to this time suggest that, post Covid, people would try and stay within their own confines . Once they have gone home they would try and seek education in their own state and their own environment because just like the migrant labour crises the migrant students would also somewhere down the line have a mental block. That’s what most of them fear and in that environment would that be a serious challenge for you?
Everywhere Quality makes the difference. Ok, if the institution gives quality you don’t have boundaries. I give a live example of ICFAI Business School where we have the MBA, you know the ICFAI Business school is one of the top in the world. Now at present we have started the classes from June 1st. And believe it or not we have completed the admissions, 150 admissions. Out of the 150 again, my point here is, 90% students are from outside Uttarakhand and they have started the classes. The online classes are going on very well. All 150 students are attending online classes. Till the government regulations give us live classes. Live example I am giving you. Second live example I will give you. We have completed 100 admissions and our intake is complete. And we are not taking admission in both ICFAI Business School and Education School. Again, in Education School intake is from outside. These examples make it clear that Quantity is not important. When you have the quality automatically the student never sees where I am going and as far as Covid is concerned, regarding admissions, we have till now not had the issue of admissions. The students are very happy. The interactions are happening. Assessments are happening whatever it is, the case studies are happening. There is no change in that completely.
That’s extremely encouraging, extremely assuring, for not just the students but the parents as well, the teacher fraternity and other Universities as well. In fact the lesson out there is how important it is to build yourself to a brand and build your credibility because eventually then wherever you are, whatever be the situation, the students will come to you., if not offline, at least online. Talk us through the strategy of ICFAI. ICFAI of course has been a signature organisation. I am very well conversant with its history and which makes us actually feel you know that we can build institutions like this going forward. We have to look beyond the IITs and IIMs and build institutions like ICFAI. So, tell us what the USPs are.
The USP of ICFAI is very clear, it is the teaching and learning. ICFAI Business School is one of the best in the world in publishing case studies. I think in the last couple of months, if you see the news, we have won lots of awards in publishing case studies. ICFAI University Dehradun is the only University, which has ranked 44th in the world out of 50 Industrial applications which was published by W.U.R.I.
ICFAI has been an institution of highest repute in the country. A lot of pride not only because of the quality it is imparting but also the way it’s grown, and grown in all remote areas thereby making education inclusive in this country. It really fascinates me as an individual, as a professional, as somebody who has been studying education as a vertical, it makes you very proud. But particularly in Dehradun, what would you say is the USP of the Institute/ Which are the courses and how you are looking at future courses because the new normal that is now unfolding, as I speak, is about very differentiated courses, more about sustainability, a lot of new things, Artificial Intelligence, Robotics etc.
I joined ICFAI University in 2018 as Pro Vice Chancellor. Now I am their Vice Chancellor. See, what I see is that sustainability is very important in every area. In Dehradun, the courses which are sustainable, we don’t have more courses. Because in our University we wanted to have less courses, give the quality, make the sustenance and then go. For example, we have the B School. In B School we have MBA and BBA and ICFAI university. What it has done is specialise in the Law. ICFAI Law school is one of the premier Law Schools. We have more than 1300 students in Law School. So that is the USP of our Law. And believe it or not Dehradun is an education hub. So, we have top Universities like UPSC, you have Graphic Era, you have DELTA. There are 1-1.5 Lac students coming from outside. Only Dehradun. And you have fewer local students.
You mentioned something very beautiful a while back about ICFAI when you said our motto is to teach and learn. It reflects humility, it reflects the quest for knowledge, it reflects the constant need of upgrading yourself and updating yourself. In this environment what would be your advice to the various sections of the education ecosphere to a) the students, b) the teachers and c) the parallel VCs like yourself?
We should not compromise with the quality. There should be academic-industry orientation. You have to build the students to the latest industry trends. It is not that when I studied in 1980 the same thing should be done in 2020. We should see where we are and what is going around. For example, I will tell you, I am in Dehradun. I have to see what I need for the Dehradun students and what is the environment here. I should not compare with the metropolitan cities. So, Dehradun is in the Himalayas, it is in a good environment with good mountains and all. So, how do we make the education complete in this year only and give the value systems to the students, what the industry wants. Every student wants a career. If he is joining an MBA program by paying 10 Lacs, he wants that career should be made, he wants that the placement should be there. But placements only come when these students are fit for the industry, not industry of 20 years back, the new industry with latest environment, they have to give that.
That’s a beautiful point and that is one of our mottos at Edumate.TV – employability. I mean this country is not only suffering from employment. It is suffering from the more dreaded, the more sinister disease of employability and for that you need 3 R’s: You need to be relevant; you need to be responsive and you need to be responsible. I mean all 3 in the same web and that’s very critical. So, thank you for highlighting that as well. But you also have the advantage of having the current HRD Minister from your State. Has Dehradun benefitted from that in any special way?
Yes, we have benefitted and he gives importance to the State in whichever education is there. It does that. It does that.
We’ve heard about ICFAI. It’s a big brand, most people know about the brand. Now I want to know about the brand Dr. Muddu Vinay. Talk us through your career which I know has been exemplary. I’ve just got a few insights which I read out initially. Guide us through that because part of this program is not to .just talk to students and to talk to parents and teachers. It’s also to talk to several people who want to follow education as a career path and for that people like you are truly inspirational. Talk us through your career.
Actually I am from the family of teachers. I never say I am a Vice Chancellor; I am a Dean. I say to everybody that I am a teacher who gives the knowledge where the student wants. Basically, I am the son of a teacher. My father is Vishwanath Muddu. He was a Dean in Osmania University, College of Education. Basically, I am from Hyderabad. I have more than 30 years of experience in the education field only. I have not changed anything. But I have moved to different stats and I have moved outside the country. I have established 2 international B Schools. I have worked in Presidency College, one of the renowned Colleges in Bangalore for 8 years. I have been responsible for getting both A and A+ NAAC accreditation for Presidency College. The Presidency College was converted to a Private University wherein I was involved to complete it. The senior management had requested me to come back to ICFAI and we want you to develop ICFAI Dehradun. Then I joined as a Pro Vice Chancellor in 2018 and studied the environment to recognise the ongoing issues. It took 2 years to make ICFAI University a quality brand. On June 11th we got a world ranking of 44. I’ve been in the National Board of Accreditation; I think I visited more than 50 top B Schools like B-school in Mumbai and BIMTECH in Noida. Wherever I go to the institutions as a peer committee expert member I take the USP of that institution, what are the developments they have done, what are the initiatives they have done and then I try to execute. I am not a person who read and do. That is my USP.I am positively oriented towards the staff. Because today in any industry or anything team is what gives the success. My first importance is to my team. Whatever they want, I will try to give to them first and then I will extract it. Today, in our University we got a lot of ranks, NAAC Accreditation, this is because of my team members of ICFAI Dehradun faculty and staff completely.
Everything that you said points out to the traits of a true leader and it’s quite remarkable. Those words, exactly what any script in Leadership will tell you Dr. Muddu. So, thank you for highlighting. I’m going to take a couple of questions before we end the show. What from your point of view, you know, is the most critical gap in India’s educational system? I mean people have talked about Covid being a crisis, but every crisis throws an opportunity. There is no doubt about the fact that India’s education system by and large had become irrelevant for several people for the reasons that you mentioned. Irrelevant to provide jobs. This is an opportunity as well so where do you think are the biggest gaps right now?
You see, I am not comparing with the top institutes of IIMs, IITs. The higher education system which we take on as commercialisation. Out of 100% institutions, 60% are run by politicians. They do it for business oly. I am very frank. The poor teachers are not given the due respect that they want completely and proper training. Believe it or not Chetan, I’ve seen the institution’s faculty members, because I visit a lot of institutions, do not know the learning outcome of any course. Recently, only 6 months back the UGC implemented outcome-based learning. Almost 70% of the faculty does not know the learning outcomes and how the outcomes are measured. Make the student what he wants. Sir, you know that the outcomes are assessed by certain tools. The tools have to be in such a way that the student should get the learning. Then only your success is the outcome. So, what we have in our system you have only the examination system. Class mein padao, exam likho, 80% / 90% lao. The same thing is happening in private institutions also. We have about 945 – 950 private Universities. You can say only 200 to 300 Universities do. This is my personal visit to the Universities, and I visit, and I tell them also very clearly that these are the things that you have to look at very clearly.
Well thank you for pointing out two very frank and brilliant and insightful points. 1) is the dangerous alignment between politics and education which has actually done a disservice to the education sector not only in terms of disengaging with the students at the level at should be and also irresponsible in not partaking in the kind of education that they should be at the right price and with the right values. Very very important. And the second point that you made was the over theorising of our education system and not aligning it to the practical needs. Thank you for that as well. You know from my point of view when you build the character of a nation it is very important to first build the character of the students and citizens. Do you think that the education system invokes character building?
I cannot say that 100%. But it makes sense.
One final word of advice to the students, the teachers, the fraternity at large and your final word FOR our initiative at Edumate,TV.
My final word is that knowledge is the basis of action. Action is the basis of achievement and achievement is the basis of fulfilment. When you have the knowledge you should take action, when you take action you have achieved something and when you have achieved you have fulfilled your dreams.
I think Edumate is a good initiative by you getting into education because nobody has done it privately, nobody has come forward. It is a good initiative to come out with an educational TV with a quality perspective.