Education Stalwarts 2021 | Dr. Girish Desai, Executive Director of Pimpri Chinchwad Education Trust and Nutan Vidya Prasarak Mandal | Leaders in Education
Dr. Girish Desai, Executive Director of Pimpri Chinchwad Education Trust and Nutan Vidya Prasarak Mandal, one of the top Leaders in Education is with EducationToday sharing his experience.
A PhD holder and a mechanical engineer by profession, I have always had the vision to grow; and in my growth, have other students find their career path.
After completing my graduation in mechanical Engineering, I worked in the industry for 7 years before joining Pimpri Chinchwad Education Trust (PCET) in the year 2000 as a lecturer in the engineering college. At that time, PCET had a small strength of just 1200 students.
While working as a lecturer, a lot of problems were faced during my initial days. I tried to convert the problems into opportunities and solutions, so the faith of our trustee increased. I got the opportunity to contribute to various areas of the trust such as PR, finance, legal, land; with many government agencies, in almost all aspects of education.
I became the Executive Director at the age of 38. At present, PCET is a time-trusted brand in education. I have been fortunate to have received various opportunities such as working as the Advisor to SPCT, Executive Director to NMVP (135 old trust founded by Late Lokmanya Tilak), Secretary of SPCT, etc.
Growth for me means to ensure that people around you are also growing.
My growth path has been steady but not easy; I have consistently worked hard. In 2009, I was the Advisor to Sahajirao Patil Vikas Pratisthan (SPVP), of Engineering Institute and Polytechnic. Soon, I up scaled from teaching and in 2012, I was appointed as Executive Director of Pimpri Chinchwad Education Trust. The raging fire within me enabled me to commence the ‘Master of Business Administration at PCET (2008-2009)”.
In my entire career, I have held various prestigious positions that have helped institutes flourish during my active involvement as the Executive Director in Pimpri Chinchwad Education Trust, I brought progress in all their dimensions, namely, the Pimpri Chinchwad Polytechnic (PCP),Pimpri Chinchwad College of Engineering (PCCOE), Pimpri Chinchwad College of Engineering & Research (PCCOE&R), S.B. Patil Institute of Management (SBPIM), S.B. Patil College of Architecture and Design (SBPCOAD), S.B. Patil College of Science & Commerce (SBPCSC), S.B. Patil Public School (SBPPS- CBSE), and the Pune Business School (PBS).
I believe that digitization is the way forward; the whole world being one global village is now connected digitally. More so, the pandemic has taught us that life can stop physically, but digitally, everything is still moving forward. Breaking away from traditional bounds is always challenging but that being said, change is the only constant and is necessary although not easy.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, we had to instantly shift everything to the digital mode. We quickly started to work on it, and prepared a complete roadmap for online teaching. We conducted zoom lectures; YouTube channels were made, complete course material was stored on Google drive making it accessible for students, and all relevant information was provided on the website.
We also managed to conduct the second Continuous Internal Assessment (CIA) during the lockdown, in the form of assignments and projects. We later developed in-house software for online assignment submission that could be accessed by teachers.
Shifting from classroom teaching to online teaching was definitely a big hurdle. Everyone was confused initially as we weren’t prepared for this transition. But gradually, everyone got the hang of it and became accustomed to digitalization. We also realized that few children found it difficult to access internet connections and we tried to help them with online notes so they could access it whenever possible. We still have a few glitches but with technology, that is always expected.
Our staff has started coming to college and all safety measures have been taken. Everyone wears a mask and regularly sanitizes their hands. Regular temperature checks are done. We are going to follow the all the Covid-19 protocols that the Government has issued. Our college has also formulated our own sanitizer, and machines are installed all over the campus to be able to use these machines and sanitize as and when any employee or student would feel the need to do so.
We strongly believe that mental health is the most important; only if a person is mentally healthy will they be able to function and in turn help the institute to function. The pandemic had got parents, students and all of us stressed and anxious. To be able to deal with the Covid situation, we organized a seminar by PCMC Additional Commissioner- Mr. Indalkar, on ‘How To Deal With Corona, And Its Repercussions’.
My journey has been a fruitful one despite the obstacles that were faced. My first gratitude extends to my parents for their constant support, my wife Veena, and my kids- Varun and Shweta. Secondly, I humbly say, the trustees of PCET are my strongest pillars for entrusting me with this position and believing in my capabilities. Man cannot grow alone and always needs the support of others around. This being said, I could not be where I am today without the love and support of my colleagues, well-wishers, students and friends. Even my critics have helped me grow, as criticism always shows us ways to improve and do better.
To the upcoming professionals in the field of education, I would like to say- Don’t become complacent; getting a permanent job should not be the goal. Exploring and identifying your true potential and most importantly working towards it should be your goal. I see so many professionals who are so bright, intelligent and creative but there is no motivation to move out of their comfort zone. It is important to note that no great achievements are made in comfort zones. Let the thirst for knowledge never die and you shall outshine yourself. Use your skills and knowledge to help mankind. Giving back to society is your responsibility and you must not shun away from it. Believe in your potential and never be shy to learn from your mistakes.
Do check out experiences shared by our top 50 leaders in education. All of the Leaders in education who have shared their experience with us have been motivating and life changing.
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