Refocusing Higher Education in an Uncertain World

An interview with Dr. M. Venugopal,

Director- NITTE School Of Management

In 2020, education faced its biggest challenge. With urban institutes more equipped to tackle a new normal, many institutes that cater to students in remote areas struggled with technology and integration. We spent time with Dr. M. Venugopal,

Director- NITTE School Of Management, for insights in to how a management institution tackles uncertainty from the point of view of the pandemic, as well as industry needs.

Ken 42: What is the biggest challenge you face as the leader of an education institution?

Dr. Venugopal: Keeping morale high and inspiring students is a priority for us. Our transition in to technology implementation has resulted in getting students to shift from “I’m not smart” to “I’m able to learn if I try and I can do.” So, while our challenge has been to enable students to stay engaged and motivated, our adoption of technology has been of a huge support.

Ken42: What do you foresee for education in this coming year?

Dr. Venugopal:  The education system is changing rapidly. The future will be a time of ‘Design Thinking’, Innovation, Digital learning and more insightful inquiry into personal development and professional excellence. This makes it important for us, as education leaders to pivot, train and upskill educators, and design relevant courses for our students, empowering them to take on a world with new, exciting opportunities.

Ken42: What about education in the post pandemic world?

Dr. Venugopal: Coming back to a post pandemic world will require huge readjustment and rethinking from all stakeholders. I believe that focused and actionable guidance for keeping in pace with learning requirements, and safe learning environment, through various preventive measures will be necessary for in-person learning.

Ken42: What is your view on technology for education?

Dr. Venugopal: Technology integration into the education process is here to stay, and presents tremendous opportunities for both teachers and learners. It will be challenging initially to cope with the new norms, but as our students and teachers cope with it, they will learn to live with it and eventually, excel.

Ken42: Are you using any technology now and has it impacted your institution?

Dr. Venugopal: Our entire classroom teaching is technology-based. The LMS that we have in place makes the teaching, learning, and interactive processes real-time. The design thinking lab, labs for specialization subjects are all software-driven. Technology that we have adapted should enable the process from admission to final granting of grades and certificates, system-based and totally error-free.

Ken42: What is your vision for your institution in the future?

Dr. Venugopal: Our vision is to make Nitte School of Management one among the top three business schools in Bengaluru and one among ten at national level. Right now, we have students from at least 15 states. We look forward to having students enrolling with us from every state. We wish to see the Institute run on a corporate business model, and that education delivery, empowerment, placement, entrepreneurship take place under one roof.

Ken42: What features would you like to see in edutech specifically? How will that help your vision?

Dr. Venugopal: Education delivery without technology is difficult to visualise. We have introduced technology in all facets such as admission, class room management, continuous evaluation, declaration of result and granting of certificates.  50 plus short term certification programs are all lab-based. We would like every teacher being able to teach where he is, with what he has seamlessly. Our students did not miss even a single session during pandemic times also. We conducted national level programs and multiple meetings in a hassle free manner.  Our vision is to take this forward and replicate the successful model in other places as we expand and branch out.

In addition, I believe that the implementation of technology in classrooms and in the education experience, can greatly help enhance the relationship between teachers and students for better academic results.  Technology helps make teaching and learning more creative and practical. More innovations in the area of student-teacher relationship-building and solutions to make learning engaging despite the lack of human connect is the need of the day.


Ken42: As the leader of a premier institution and the forerunner of short term courses, how do you aim to change people's lives with education?

Dr. Venugopal:   Management education is getting costlier these days. Our mission is to make it affordable to students from every middle class family.   Placing every student in gainful positions immediately after paid internship is the mission we are committed to. The certification courses that we offer touch upon practically every knowledge domain and help our students aspire for higher positions even as they help professionals upgrade in terms of qualifications and prospects.

Ken42: What is your message to students?

Dr. Venugopal: Focus on your set goals until you reach and aspire to create a history and make your parents, teachers feel proud.