Maneuver Towards Better Education
Development begins with education which is why education holds paramount importance in all spheres of life. With the ever rising thrust on delivery of Higher Education (HE) with Quality, Excellence & Graduate Employability, one such institute is committed since its inception in 2008 in the lust green orchid of Himalayan valley in Sikkim. The Vinayaka Missions Sikkim University (VMSU) is set up by the TKVTSS Medical Educational & Charitable Trust to offer education in the diverse fields of sciences, arts & humanities, medical, dental, nursing, pharmacy, paramedical, engineering, education and management. However, the institute being in its infant stage and remotely located in the NE India is slowly and slowly emerging on its own with a systematic plan of action to cater to the fields of Higher Education with its regular and distance programs at UG, PG, PhD level under the guidance of Dept. of HRDD, Govt. of Sikkim and with due recognition from the UGC, Govt. of India.
"Amidst adversities in the form of shortage of resources including trained teachers and support staff, or intake of quality (better exposed) students or Govt. funds (grants-in-aid), we are still growing day by day maintaining an adequate teacher-student ratio", says an optimistic Prof. Dr. Kalyan Kumar, Vice Chancellor, VMSU. From the foundation days, VMSU has focused on many kinds of educational and industrial ventures. With the tie-up's and collaborations with Institution of Public Health Engineers, India; CII, Builders Association of India; Chambers of Commerce, the university has built up two centers : Centre for Continuing Education and Research (CCER) and Centre for Innovation and Excellence (CIE) under the College of Arts and Science. A forum has been created where these bodies help to give short duration service programs to the field executives (in-service candidates) to enhance their knowledge and skills, and to also develop competencies in the respective fields. This program focuses on maintenance, operational, technical, and design aspects of such career profiles. Executives of Tata Shapoorji Pallonji Group, Kolkata is one of the beneficiaries of this program. Similarly, VMSU has conducted a number of industry specific and employment oriented skill development programs in carpentry, electrical house wiring, masonry, fitter mechanic and many more in various organizations in need. Also, the institute has been playing a key role in conducting faculty development programs and orientation program for support staff, take up consultancy and research project under its Centre for Innovation and Excellence.
Prof. Kumar also focuses on the importance of a competent group of faculty in an institute and mentions, "Faculties are the foundation stones, they nurture the students and play a key role in building up their future". With the present faculty strength of 35 for about 350 plus students, he points out the need to increase a number of faculty members with more expertise from academics and industry for both the vertical and the horizontal expansions in the institute. Keeping in mind the geographical location of the university, the colleges are operating quite well in providing its students a balanced form of education and exposure arranging events such as seminar, industrial meets and conferences more often. MoU's with the State Institute of Capacity Building (SICB), a partner of NSDC, Salt Lake Institute of Engineering and Management (SLIEM), Kolkata; Star Institute of Management (SIM), TEBMA Shipyard, etc helped in carrying out a few industry specific courses with VMSU students. The university has seen recruitment of its passouts by some local industries, organizations and national banks such as South Indian Bank, Punjab National Bank, Canara Bank besides IT firms from Bangalore.
The university looks forward to expand more in terms of building space and infrastructure, and also, launching of new programs in the coming years. Inclusion of more colleges after acquiring a full fledged campus of its own and addition of technical, medical, dental and engineering programs are some of the prime targets.