January 26, 2020
Mukti Mishra, President, Centurion University
One of the most adored names in the galaxy of the country’s edupreneurs, Prof Mukti Mishra(Reforming Education Ecosystem) has straddled the corporate and education worlds with consummate ease. Despite his bevy of achievements, Mishra has never rested on his laurels. Nor has he allowed complacency to seep into his constantly thinking brain. The urge to accomplish something more has always impelled him to scale dizzier heights.
“I felt that two gaps existed — as a teacher, between what we should be teaching and what the students should be learning, and as a student, between what they are learning and what they are supposed to learn.” To bridge this gap, he wanted to link the four important components of the education system — students, educators, government and civil society. To this end, he took over Jagannath Institute for Technology and Management and transformed it into what we know today as Centurion University of Technology and Management (CUTM) in 2010. It was started with the vision to offer an education that goes hand-in-hand with practical modules.
Today, Centurion boasts of five campuses and an array of social outreach programs. Yet Mishra retains his self-effacing temperament. “We are not a company that has a fixed target and upon achieving that, we can become successful,” clarifies the President of CUTM and rebukes the use of parameters like the salary students secure after passing out to measure the success of the institute. Instead, he suggests the usage of parameters like the number of students made employable, the social value created by them, the numerous problems they’ve solved and more.
Though a terminal optimist on the future of the Indian education system, he does not shy away from taking potshots at some of its existing lacunae.
“The Indian education system is regimented and autocratic—there are more than 20 regulatory authorities and thousands of institutions close down every year. While access to education continues to be an issue, millions of graduates remain unemployed. There is an unprecedented scramble for government jobs. In 2018, 93,000 candidates, including 3,700 PhD holders, 28,000 post-graduates and 50,000 graduates, applied for62 peon openings in Uttar Pradesh.These issues stem from the fact that education is over-regulated and under-supervised. Take the case of a well-recognized university that was prohibited from commissioning a teacher’s training program, that too in a tribal district. Though it had complied with all the parameters of the National Council for Teacher Education Act, the government did everything in its capacity to delay the launching of the program by seven years. It was eventually withdrawn. At the same time, the government launched around 20 teacher-training programs in violation of the act”, Mishra wrote in a scholarly article.
But Mishra through his initiatives has gone furlongs beyond the path of academic achievements. He has spearheaded Centurion’s most famous and amply documented initiative- Gram Tarang. Presently operating in the urban areas of Odisha and its contiguous neighbor Andhra Pradesh, the skill center provides skill-building and employability for the youth.
“In institution-building, satisfaction translates into acceptance of the status quo. The word ‘satisfaction’ is elusive and enigmatic”, says he.