Careers360 interviews Dr. Talat Ahmad, Vice Chancellor, Jamia Millia Islamia New Delhi. In the interview, Dr. Talat Ahmad explains the qualities that make a university stand out from the rest. He also speaks on the need to have more number of colleges and universities.
Read the full interview with the vice-chancellor of Jamia Milia Islamia below.
Careers360: What are the aspects that make a university campus vibrant?
Dr. Ahmed: Any university can be vibrant if the environment is positive. There should be synergy between the students, the faculty and the staff. And particularly, a university will be vibrant if the teaching is combined with research. If you do research and teaching, you will be publishing world over. So the university will be known through you. Compared to a good college where there is only teaching, a university where there is teaching along with research will be different If you are doing research and publishing in good journals, then your contributions will be known worldwide. And then that will make a university more dynamic - in academics and research.
Careers360: Anything beyond academics?
Dr. Ahmed: Obviously, there should be extra-curricular activities-debates, sports, cultural event, open house of the university, showcasing the university to the people, so that it becomes some sort of a torch-bearer for people around.
Careers360: What makes Jamia Millia Islamia stand out among other universities?
Dr. Ahmed: Jamia Millia Islamia’s birth coincides with India’s freedom struggle. When in 1920, Mahatma Gandhi, Maulana Azad and Mohammad Ali Jouhar went to Aligarh, they came out with the model of education known as ‘Nai talim’. It was suitable for the Indian ethos and did not follow the British education system. So, the institute started with the help of a few students and teachers in Aligarh and Dr. Zakhir Hussain, former President, was one of the teachers. The institute later moved to Karol Bagh in Delhi and then to Jamia Nagar, where it is currently situated. So, unlike other universities, it has evolved. It is going to be 100 years old in 2020.
Careers360: Any other element that makes Jamia unique?
Dr. Ahmed: Jamia has some sort of a mandate that it will provide education to the downtrodden, to help these people to come to the mainstream, get educated, contribute to society and the country. At present, we have six schools and Jamia is a unique place where you start from primary, even nursery school and you can do graduation, post-graduation, M.Phil and PhD on the same campus. We also have ‘Talimi Mela’, which used to be there from the time of Zakhir Hussain, where we make arrangements to showcase our strength, our activities and at the same time give a chance to downtrodden people who are around the university to know the importance of education.
Careers360: Is India creating universities that we need?
Dr. Ahmed: There is a big gap between the population that we have and the number of schools and universities that we have. We need to have more and more colleges and universities because from one side we want to become the leader of the world in the coming decade and we also have a big population of young people compared to other countries where people are ageing. So we are going to be a potential manpower hub. We must use the big population as a strength, not as a sort of burden.
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