New Director BITS Pilani Goa Campus takes over
The BITS Pilani Goa Campus saw a change of guard on 12th Aug ’13 with Prof. Sanjeev Kumar Aggarwal taking over as Director BITS Pilani Goa Campus from Prof K.E. Raman.
The Vasco Watch had a tete a tete with Prof Aggarwal.
After his Post Graduation in Physics from the Univ. of Delhi he pursued his M.Tech and thereafter obtained his Doctorate from I.I.T. Kanpur in 1987.
He is specialised in Computer Science and Engineering in the areas of High Performance Computing, Compilers for High Performance Architectures, Compiler Design and various other related fields of computing.
After a stint in the industry as Research Scientist and Consultant, TRDDC, Pune, he returned to IIT Kanpur and joined the faculty in the Dept. of Computer Science and Engineering in 1990. He was appointed the Head of this Dept in 2002 and in 2008 became the Dean of Resource Planning and Generation at the IIT Kanpur.
He has several research papers to his credit and has also coauthored a book in his field of Computer specialisation.
In the course of his interaction with the VW Team, Prof Aggarwal touched upon some relevant aspects of higher education and the structure of university education.
On being queried about students identifying their aptitudes and thereafter pursuing higher education in their areas of interest, Prof Aggarwal elaborated on the “Gap Year” system being followed by the better institutions in the West. Here the student has a gap of one year after school wherein he is given the opportunity to explore various fields that interest him by doing short term projects at the university, and even travelling to other countries on projects. All this away from family and without parental or peer pressure. This enables the student to identify his true areas of interest and choose an appropriate field of higher education.
The universities in the West also permit flexible combination of subjects like Maths and music, or Archaeology and Mechanical Engineering etc. In contrast our system is very rigid Prof Aggarwal observed.
In this regard he said that BITS scored over others as it offered a dual degree option wherein the student can opt for a second major after entering his chosen stream. Over half the BITS students graduate with dual major qualification.
He also delved into the problem of institutions lacking in good faculty. Since the good students did not get into teaching, the faculty is drawn from the pool that has a lower professional standard. The salary gap between the industry and that offered in the institutions is one major factor.
Prof. Aggarwal elaborated on the way ahead that the BITS University is pursuing. BITS University aims to be stronger and more visible in the research space. It aims to create intellectual property. As part of this strategy there is a shift from classroom instruction to more hands on approach. About 30 to 40 student groups have been formed to work on various projects. BITS University also envisages working in the Problem Solving Domain especially in areas of Energy, Water Management and Waste Management among others.
Prof. Aggarwal encapsulates his vision saying, “Pursue knowledge at a level where one becomes a creator of knowledge rather than just a consumer of knowledge, and pass on this new knowledge to future generations. Intellectual Property is the strength of the country.”