According to Molière, the famous French playwright, ‘The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it’. Difficulties and challenges strengthen the mind, urging us to push through and emerge victorious. For Dr. Puttaraju, being born and brought up in an agricultural family, where several generations had failed to clear their matriculation examinations, posed a seemingly insurmountable challenge.
As a young boy, he had to steal some time for himself to be with his books, which he had to borrow from his friends. With hard work and determination, he cleared his 10th standard examination in the first attempt. Despite his family’s stance that he should be spending more time in the field than in studies, he cleared his 11th and 12th standards with top ranks and landed a seat in engineering at AIT Chickmagaluru, graduating as a Civil Engineer. This determination of Puttaraju to battle all odds continued to win him laurels, including gaining the ‘Dr.’ title.
A teacher since 1987, Dr. Puttaraju started his teaching profession at SJCIT Chickballapur. He joined as a lecturer and then moved up the ladder with his determination to don the hats of Assistant Professor, Professor, and later as Head of Civil Engineering department. Dr. Puttaraju considers His Holiness Bhairavikya Poojya Dr. Balagangadharanatha Maha Swamiji, His Holiness Jagadguru Sri Sri Dr. Nirmalandanatha Maha Swamiji, and Revered Sri Sri Dr. Prakashnath Swamiji as his role models.
Driving inspiration from his exemplars and his teachers, Dr. Puttaraju hopes to contribute his 35 years (2 years of construction and 33 years of teaching) of experience to add value to the education field. “With the help of my colleagues, I gave my best for 15 years at SJCIT, resulting in a remarkable academic discipline. This impressed Poojya Gurudev and Poojya Mahaswamiji, my mentors, and granted me the position of the Founder Principal at SJBIT, at the age of 37, in the year 2001. Since my career started, I have strived to enable students to contribute to building a better society and in turn a better world,” he says.
As the founding principal, one of the main challenges he faced at SJBIT was to have a comprehensive education system that would create the practical and contributing engineering graduates to society. Therefore, it took 19 years to build the following to address the industry demand:
- Adopting soft-skill and technical skill to meet industry expectations. SJBIT has in place a huge infrastructure were industry experts are invited to train the students right from the first semester.
- Establishment of ‘Centres of Excellence’ at SJBIT. This was necessary to expose the students to the real industry environment, with information on the latest technologies relayed through regular internship and projects.
- Pedagogical changes in teaching, learning and assessments. The institution has implemented a digital domain of teaching and learning by using M/s. Apple Inc. framework. This power tool enhanced the learnability of students, boosting their confidence a great deal.
With immense pride in his students, Dr. Puttaraju says that each of his students are gifted and a treasure trove of great potential. He places great importance on his students, as he believes that they are ambassadors of SJBITs vision, which is to build a top-notch engineering education system on par with those in advanced countries. “Our mission is to build the best infrastructure, adopt the best pedagogy and bring industry environment in the college to bring our vision into fruition. I would like to introduce a technology-rich learning environment into the system wherein the students are provided with the right skilling anywhere and anytime and having intelligence through their digital framework,” informs Dr. Puttaraju.
Reflecting over how Indian education has not changed much over the years, Dr. Puttaraju says that we are still continuing with rote memorization and learning, even in this very challenging and technology-driven era. He comments, “Central and state governments have initiated ‘New Education Policy’ (NEP) to address this by giving a lot of freedom to the management. I am optimistic that we will see good participation from all the stakeholders. Of course, in the first 5 years we will face chaos and confusion, but things would gradually settle down thereafter.”
He continues to say that the Indian education system can gear up for Industrial Revolution 4.0 only with the complete support from the industry itself, handholding the education system for a couple of years and training them till they become confident to tell the students in the classrooms. “This is possible only if we create a new learning framework by adopting a technology-rich digital mode of teaching & learning and dump the traditional method, which uses boards, chalk, papers and pens. There should be a total revamp of the system by integrating the very best hardware and software, digital content, services and training resources. This would ultimately lead to personal learning experiences for every student. This is the only way out of bringing industry revolution 4.0 into the education system in India.” He opines.
This year, even with all the challenges that 2020 had brought forth, Dr. Puttaraju plans to get the National Board of Accreditation certification for all programs at SJBIT. He is also looking forward to creating digital contents (for the fourth successive year) for learning under DPD (Digital Professional Development) Program by using M/S Apple Inc Digital framework.
Dr. Puttaraju says that one there will arise a hundred problems when one plans new initiatives. Instead of faltering, they must keep in mind that there are no problems in the world for which there are no solutions, provided one should have a killing determination to achieve the intended goal. “I strongly believe in the saying ‘A man with courage makes all the difference’.”
Under Dr. Puttaraju’s guidance, SJBIT has set the following milestones:
- Accredited by NAAC with A grade, valid from Oct 2017 to Oct 2022
- Honoured as “Excellent Training & Placements Institute in Karnataka” by VTU, AICTE, CMAI, AIU, Govt. of India.
- Established as “Global Centre of Excellence” by M/s. Hirecraft software solutions Pvt. Ltd.
- Accredited by M/s. Tata Consultancy Services.
- Accredited as a “Trusted academic Partner” by M/s. Wipro Technologies.
- Established as “NI Lab view Academy School” by M/s. National Instruments”.
- Secured several ranks consistently in various VTU examinations.
- Signed MOUs, through the Industry Institute Interaction Cell, with 46 companies/corporate leading to the creation of industry environment in the college campus
- Established 10 R&D centres, where 167 research scholars have currently enrolled for various research activities leading to the award of PhD program under VTU.
- Officially became AATCe to offer Apple authorised certificates directly to students