Published: 01st June 2018
Dr Mukti Kanta Mishra, President of Centurion University, talks about education and more
The President of Centurion University of Technology and Management talks about his beginnings and what he expects from the education system
Going from the corporate world to teaching can be quite fulfilling for anyone, but not for Dr Mukti Kanta Mishra. The nagging feeling of doing something more did not leave him. In fact, it only intensified. "I felt that two gaps existed — as a teacher, between what we should be teaching and what the students should be learning, and as a student, between what they are learning and what they are supposed to learn." To bridge this gap, he wanted to link the four important components of the education system — students, educators, government and civil society. To this end, he took over Jagannath Institute for Technology and Management and transformed it into what we know today as Centurion University of Technology and Management (CUTM) in 2010. It was started with the vision to offer an education that goes hand-in-hand with practicals.
Centurion University of Technology and Management was started in August 2010. When it started, it became the first multi-sector state private university in Odisha
Today, Centurion has more than five campuses and has several social outreach wings and yet, when we ask Dr Mishra about its success, he says that they are not successful yet. "We are not a company that has a fixed target and upon achieving that, we can become successful," clarifies the President of CUTM and rebukes the use of parameters like the salary students secure after passing out to measure the success of the institute. Instead, he suggests the usage of parameters like the number of students made employable, the social value created by them, the numerous problems they've solved and more. He does concede that this is difficult to measure, but this is the way forward.
Dr Mishra strongly feels that the government is obsessed with over-regulation and under-supervision, "while the case should be the other way around," he suggests. Why must all universities be good at everything? Why can't the government incentivise institutions in the area they want to be good at, like building competency or imbibing skills, instead of expecting them to be good at everything, he wonders, adding that, "Education may be a byproduct of democratic thinking, but the education system and the educators can be the most aristocratic and dictatorial systems ever." Giving an example of their regimented ways, he asks, what if a person is sharp enough to finish Medicine well before the stipulated four years? The government must allow for cases where a student, who finds the classroom boring, can participate in discussions and debates, prove their learning through a competency test and upon clearing it, be given a certificate.
Centurion's most famous initiative is Gram Tarang. Currently operating in the villages and semi-urban areas of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh, they provide skill building for employability and skill development for the youth
For Dr Mishra, one of the challenges that remains is trying to bring about the importance of education, not just for a degree but for itself. He believes that hands-on, experiential learning with a pedagogy that is practical is the best kind of education one can ask for.
For more on the university, click on cutm.ac.in