Prof. Sasmita Samanta from Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology recently joined NewsX for its special segment, NewsX A-list and shared details about KIIT and how the pandemic has changed the learning procedure for students.

Sasmita Samanta has won over 25 national and international awards and is a perceptive academician and popular teacher in the field of organisational behaviour and leadership. Sasmita strongly believes that education is of prime importance to everybody and therefore, it gets the highest priority in India. She then gave some background information about the KIIT university.

Prof. Sasmita said that KIIT was established in 1997 as an engineering institution, after six years of establishment in 2004, KIIT got the deemed university status from University Grants Commission (UGC) and that KIIT has grown in many folds establishing a number of schools. “Now KIIT is one of the premier multidisciplinary universities of this country. The focus of the new education policy released recently by the govt. of India is to convert the Indian universities into multiple disciplinary universities”, she said.

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In her opinion, a student can easily decide his course of action for the future when he gets exposure to all fields of education in life. She said, “KIIT is very fortunate that since very beginning KIIT has evolved itself into a multidisciplinary institution.”

Prof. Sasmita said that KIIT offers around 200 UG and PG programme in different disciplines, starting from engineering management, biotechnology, medical, dental science to social sciences. Students studying there are free to choose the courses across all these disciplines as per their interest, KIIT is also open on Saturdays and Sundays for school students to experience the ambience of the university.

The vice-chancellor also shared that the university was started with the vision of making it an international institution, and only after one year of establishment they had around 30 foreign students on the campus. KIIT also has a global reach.”Since the very beginning, KIIT was established to address the issues of the globe. Now we have students and faculties from 52 countries and every year around 500 to 1100 students go abroad for higher studies from our university”, she mentioned.

When asked about how the COVID situation affected the working of the institutions, she said that everything went smoothly for them. She further said that around 1000 Indian and 600 foreign students were stuck on the campus. She said, “The students who couldn’t go home were provided with all sorts of facilities and the regulations defined by the govt of India for Covid-19 were being strictly followed inside the hostel campus.”

Addressing her take on the digital age, she exclaimed that KIIT is a tech-savvy campus and every student and teacher in the university is provided with a laptop. She mentioned that even before the pandemic started, the university used to conduct online assessments through an online examination system. So, the prior experience of teaching the kids online helped them a lot. Also, she said that KIIT is the only institution in the country which could finish the academic calendar as it was set earlier.

She went on to say that she saw emerging opportunities in the digital age. She said that it was difficult to attract students to the class and keep them engaged for 6 hours when they were physically present, but when students were allowed to attend classes as per their convenience, there was a sharp rise in the number of students present in the class.

She then explained how the teaching process has become simpler now. She said, “KIIT has faculties who are themselves industrialists and experts from around the country. It needed a lot of planning for these faculties to teach to the campus. Now it’s easier for them to take classes online as the travelling time is saved.”

She feels that even after the pandemic many institutions will still follow the online method of teaching.
Sasmita also had a piece of advice for the students of the coming generation. She believes that students should learn evolving with the changing circumstances. According to her, “As the technology is changing so rapidly around the globe, apart from only focusing on their particular profession for learning, the students should develop the skill of evolving while learning so that they can maintain their credibility.”

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