With more than 220 million students and 14 million teachers, India has a massive school education system. However, the number of students moving from school to college is not proportionate. For states like Jharkhand, access to higher and technical education has been a huge challenge, and the government alone cannot make the necessary infrastructure to mitigate it. One of the few private education institutions that came forward to help the state of Jharkhand is ICFAI University, a group that pioneered quality higher education in India for over 30 years, with its motto – Meritum Ethicus (Merit with Ethics). “ICFAI University, Jharkhand is part of ICFAI Group. Our University was set up in Jharkhand with the objective of taking quality education to the door-steps of the people of the state that cannot afford to pursue higher education in Metros,” says Prof. O R S Rao, Vice-Chancellor, ICFAI University, Jharkhand.
Today, ICFAI has a pan-India presence in 16 states, with three strategic institutional units, which include 11 ICFAI Universities, 6 IBS business schools, and Flexible Learning programmes. “At ICFAI University, Jharkhand, our vision is to be the best Values-based University in the Eastern Region, leveraging Research in areas, relevant to the Industry and the Society. One of our missions is to Groom students into Competent Professionals, With Values, by imparting requisite knowledge, skills, and character, through technology-enabled pedagogies,” adds Prof. Rao. The University currently offers Undergraduate, Postgraduate and Doctoral Programmes in Management and Bachelor’s programs in Engineering, Commerce, Law, Management, Science & Technology, and Diploma programmes in Technology (Polytechnic). In line with the local industry requirements in Jharkhand, the University has a focus on Mining Engineering and offers BTech and Polytechnic programs in Mining. All programmes offered by the University have contemporary curriculum, in-line with the latest developments in science, technology, and management and as per the changing requirements of the industry.
In Tune with the Industry 4.0
“Companies today have to spend a lot of time and money to train the new recruits to make them productive on the jobs. If it can be addressed effectively, it will save considerable cost to the company and at the same time, enhance the employability of the fresh graduates. Besides, it will enable India to grow its GDP at a higher rate of growth,” opines Prof. Rao. It is true that a large number of technical institutions in India have failed to train their students to be ready for the industry. Prof. Rao adds, “In order to prepare our students for Industry 4.0, our University came out with Education 4.0, which is a learner-centric outcome-based education framework that consists of a tripod of curriculum, learning effectiveness and skill development.”
Every year, ICFAI University, Jharkhand analyses the technology landscape and updates curriculum to include the latest technologies like BlockChain, Artificial Intelligence, IoT, Cyber Security and inter-disciplinary industry domain practice areas like FinTech Mechatronics and many more. It is not just the students who get benefits from such modern curriculum. The University also focuses on training its faculty members, who are highly qualified with rich blend of experience in industry and academics, in the latest technologies. Prof. Rao states, “Programmes participated by our faculty members in the last six months include Artificial Intelligence, Block-Chain Modeling, Deployment of Technology in Pedagogy, Micro Teaching.” ICFAI University, Jharkhand increases the learning effectiveness by leveraging technology in teaching-learning-evaluation processes. At the University, MOOC courses to supplement classroom learning.
“We impart hands-on skills to the students by way of industry Immersion programs like industry visits, live projects, Summer Internships and Industry Project for the entire last semester. Some students are involved in the consulting projects, taken up by the University,” shares Prof. Rao. In fact, intense Industry-Interface is critical to achieving the objectives of Industry 4.0. ICFAI University, Jharkhand has constituted an Industry Council, consisting of senior managers from the industry, who are involved in the entire cycle – from program structuring, curriculum formulation, ways of imparting industry-ready skills, evaluation and placement. The University has also signed Industry-Academia collaboration MoUs with reputed academic institutions including IIT, Bombay and IIT, Delhi, as well as with industrial organizations like Bosch, National Stock Exchange, Supreme Industries, Cyber Peace Foundation and many more.
Offering the Best Career Paths
Career Planning and Development starts the first day the students join ICFA University, Jharkhand wherein they are briefed on career options and facilitated to decide their individual career pathways, based on their interests and personality. The University also has Soft Skills Lab, Personality Labs and Special Interest Clubs for the personality development of its students. “We publish a newsletter named i-Nowkri, which presents trends in the job market and how students can gear up themselves to hone their skills. Our alumni, who are successful in their careers, also share their experiences and inspire our students,” says Prof. Rao. Today, several alumni are working in senior roles in reputed organizations like Amazon Web Services (in the US), TCS, Infosys, Cognizant, SBI, Asian Paints, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Mahindra and Mahindra, Tata Steel, Tata Motors and many more.
“Some of our students became successful entrepreneurs and provided employment to others. Indeed, we identify aspiring entrepreneurs as soon as the students join the University and they are mentored to do preparatory work, like market opportunity scan, identification of right business opportunity, business plan preparation and many more well before they graduate,” pinpoints Prof. Rao. The University guides and facilitates its students to come up with creative ideas and build innovative products out of them. They also provide project funding and motivates the students by giving awards of recognition. A few examples of innovation demonstrated by the students of ICFAI University, Jharkhand include Four-wheel transmission drive, Block-Chain based App for bus reservation, Mobile App for door delivery of medicine and many more. “We help our students in preparing business plans and facilitate in arranging for seed funding. Our alumni have ventured into the various businesses including Financial Advisory Services, KG School education, Real Estate, Tourism, Media, Software Development, CAD/CAM services and so on,” explains Prof. Rao.
Today, every student of ICFAI University, Jharkhand comes out with a bunch of qualities they may not have had. Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, People Management, Leadership, Self-Confidence, Empathetic, Ethical, and Caring for others and the Society are few to mention among them. As the University continues to offer an excellent education to the masses, the management has many ambitious plans. “We want to build an Incubation Centre and set up a Center-of-Excellence in inter-disciplinary areas like Mine Management and Digital Transformation of Industry. We will also be training rural school dropouts in the neighboring villages to make them employable,” concludes Prof. Rao.
Prof. O R S Rao, Vice-Chancellor
Prof. O R S Rao holds B.Tech from IIT, Madras, and MBA from NITIE, Mumbai. He has over 45 years of blended experience (27 years in the industry and 18 years in academics and applied research). He has worked in senior roles in reputed organizations in India and overseas like HCL Technologies, NIIT, Cyient, GMR Group, and BHEL. Has been associated with the ICFAI group for the last 18 years.