“Being student Centric is the key”

The Hindu - Education Plus
The top management desires that the institute should be filled with quality students, or, at least, there should be more than breakeven number of students. The parents desire that the institute should provide quality education and help students as and when required. They also expect it to take care of students’ holistic development and be a “parent” to them.
The government and the statutory authorities desire that all the rules and regulations are met by institutes, such as the number of computers, faculty, classrooms, and so on.
The students desire that the faculty provide them “something more” than what is available in the books, websites and so on. Many of the students are not interested in attending classes because they feel that all the information provided by the faculty is available on the Internet. There is no real value addition. Additionally, as far as the students are concerned, good job opportunities and placements are their priority.
Discussions with several industry and corporate personnel indicate that while interviewing students, corporate recruiters look at the following characteristics in students:
  • Fundamental knowledge of the subject (approximately 20 per cent weightage)
  • Application knowledge of the subject (approximately 40 per cent weightage)
  • Holistic development of the student (approximately 40 per cent weightage)
This indicates that for the success of any B-school, the school has to orient itself to being ‘student-centric.’
Student-centric can be defined as the process which ensures that students become the centre of all activities of the B-school or any institution of higher learning. Essentially, it begins with the very raison d’etre for the school, that is, the teaching-learning process.
This aspect can be improved through some of the following activities:
Reverse teaching: In this process, the student either individually, or in a group, makes a presentation on some relevant topics. The student or student group is encouraged to make the presentations based on a field work, including interviews with notable persons and so on.
Case study: The students are encouraged to study a given case, analyse the same and discuss it in class. The faculty acts as a facilitator during the case study analysis.
Virtual enlightenment: Leaders from the industry are invited to share their thoughts with the students. Consequently, sessions are arranged so that the students can benefit from the knowledge of thought leaders, management gurus and industry experts. The school could also arrange such sessions in the areas of wellness, women empowerment, technical issues, and so on.
Simulation exercises: Business plans are prepared and implemented in a small way. Simulation exercises are held in the areas of entrepreneurship management, financial management, marketing and marketing research management, and so on.
Learning Management Systems (LMS): The LMS system provides the students with access to the lectures conducted in the class at any time and at place. Assignments and discussions, among other resources, can be obtained from home or any place. The only limitation would be the availability of the Internet.
Online courses: Students are encouraged to undertake online courses which are in their area of interest and credit is given for successful completion of these courses.
National and international conferences: The students, through the help of the faculty (who acts as a facilitator), plan, organise and implement national and international conferences. This helps in the holistic development of the student.
Live projects: Students are encouraged to work in organisations while they learn the theoretical and practical aspects of management in the classroom. These students are encouraged to work in organisations for a period of three to four months or one semester. The students are encouraged to interact with the industry at least once or twice a week.
Student participation in committees: In one of the B-schools, activities similar to the ones in the corporate world are organised. Several committees are formed and students are encouraged to take part in each of them. For example, students are actively encouraged to participate in committees such as academic committee, non-academic committee, institutional social responsibility committee, industry-institute interaction cell, and so on.
Institute Social Responsibility (ISR): The objective is to sensitise the students to the real world. One of the B-schools in Mumbai had adopted a village on the outskirts of the city and helped the women in setting up their own Soya Ladhu Project. Another group helped the women to manufacture TASSAR silk products. Other projects undertaken in the area included blood donation camps, organising cleanliness drive, and so on.
Placement activities: Students are encouraged to become members of the placement committee. With the help of the placement committee, corporates are encouraged to visit the school. Weak students are given remedial coaching including training on how to handle interviews, answer questions such as “What do you want to be in the next 10 years?”, “What do you intend to do to achieve the above?” and so on.
Thus, becoming student-centric is essential for any B-school to succeed. It is important that the institutes transform themselves from schools imparting “some knowledge” to centres that are student-centric.
The writer is director and head of department, School of Management, D.Y. Patil University, Navi Mumbai.
Source :-   http://m.thehindu.com/features/education/being-studentcentric-is-the-key/article8541323.ece