Dr. Kamlesh Misra
Education Institution Rishihood University, Sonipat
Designation Vice Chancellor

Previous Institutions(s)

Auro University, Surat

Belongs to (place from)

Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh

MADS Interest

Art, Music and Sports

Favorite MADS Personalities

Shubha Mudgal, Zakir Hussain, Dhyan Chand, Birju Maharaj

Life Mantra

Live life as if there is going to be no tomorrow.

I draw inspirations from

My Inner self

Had I not been an Educationalist then

I would have been a very unhappy man.

When and why did you decide to take up education as your career?

I was born in a family of educationalists and everyone in the family has been in education and held senior positions like Vice Chancellors, directors, professors, librarians, school teachers etc. Thus, education was always our dining table discussion every day. So, it came very naturally to me. However, the real desire to get into education came during my study at Allahabad University. I was appearing for my IAS exams but at the same time I decided to go to the United States for Higher studies. Having cleared my preliminary IAS exam and getting selected, I decided to take up the option of Higher studies at Northeastern University, Boston which gave me a scholarship for PhD in economics. My training in the United States prepared me for my entry into Higher Education and I decided to join the teaching fraternity.

As an educationalist, you are touching many human lives directly. Do you think educational institutions can play a significant role in overall development of students by encouraging them to take up co-curricular interests like Music, Art, Dance or Sports?

I have, throughout my academic career been a champion of holistic development of students and firmly believe that with out training in Music, Art, Dance & Sports we cannot achieve the desired results of preparing students for life. These are essential elements of creativity which will drive the nation into the next century. Universities have an important role to play in this respect but many universities and academic leaders fall short of achieving this objective. 

My early education in Demonstration Multipurpose School in Mysore was a classic example of how schools should be and that planted the seed in me of these aspects of learning. As student I worked in a wood workshop for one year, Metal workshop for one year, beside extensive training in music, cultural activities, and sports. We were taught things like sketching, painting, pottery, welding, gardening, classical dance, music. These were things besides the academic subjects. I realized early in life the importance of MADS in the growing up process.  

Every institution that I have built in India has had MADS as an important element of the education system and I have seen students shaping up well due to these activities and opportunities. I firmly believe that higher education institutions must work towards incorporating MADS in the overall curriculum design and encourage students to excel in at least in one of the areas. At Rishihood University which is being built and will open doors in July 2020, we are going in a very disruptive manner to redefine education and how we need to educate our students. We are creating the world’s first SCHOOL OF CREATIVITY which has programs in art, design, music, dance, drama, photography, sculpture, and painting. We are also setting up a wood workshop and a metal workshop to help students express their creative side of personality. As a university we value these traits in our students and will work with them to come up with creative solutions to everyday problems in life. This is our approach to higher education which rests truly on transforming the students by pushing them to meet very high academic standards but give them avenues to display their creative side as well.

What are some of the most important initiatives related to co-curricular that you have taken in the institutions you have served?

Let’s start by understanding that today our students live in a world of distractions and unless we are able to engage them in creative activities, we will not make much transformational difference in their life. As an administrator I have learnt this by being approachable with my students. I have always created a bond of trust with my students and I allow them space to experiment with their ideas. I support them in their activities by being part of them and working with them.

In institutions where I have served, my students have been a very active group and have done commendable job in all extra academic activities which includes, dance, drama, music, sports, art, and culture. They have performed beyond my expectations. I have regularly conducted leadership boot camps which includes activities which are cultural, academic as well as the art of silencing the mind. These activities in my thinking have given the opportunity for the students to live and know each other, understand the social impact of togetherness. They have increased the awareness of the students and have helped them understand India with a perspective that they never thought about.

In the days when most people measure success only by academic score, how would you convey to the parents of your students that co-curricular education is not something to be looked down upon?

I think it’s a misconception that parents look down on co-curricular activities. Most parent spend thousands of rupees on their children for personality development, music, art and dance when they are in school. It is in the universities that the real personality of the students begins to take shape. In my conversation with parents I have always found them to be very interested in what we as a university do besides educating to help students explore their interests. In fact, most parents are also willing to pay additional fees for such activities.

In terms of success, I think its fair to say that there is a very high correlation between education and success but at the same time it is also fact that there is a high correlation between success and the over all personality of the individual. I have always kept this in mind while designing the University. I have personally convinced parents that the overall development of the student is dependent on four types of education: 1. Mental Education, 2. Physical education, 3. Emotional education, and 4. Spiritual education. Co-curricular activities fall in the second and the third form of education which test the creative aspect of students.

I also feel that the issue is not about parents, it is more to do with education administrators and their own belief and understanding holistic development of students and how it can be achieved. Institutions must create infrastructure and facilities to encourage students to participate in such activities. At Rishihood University we are creating facilities to meet all student requirements.

If you were to suggest one major change in perspective of co-curricular education, what would that be?

It is very difficult to identify a single most important change that is required but if I have to, then I would say that Universities need to bring back the culture of co-curricular education in its original form. This will require a fundamental shift in the attitude and understanding of the role of co-curricular activities among administrators and teachers. We will have to look at the philosophy of the Gurukul System and incorporate such practices in our system. Teachers can play a very important role in this regard as they are the drivers of student success.

It is also important that a culture of co-curricular activities is promoted on the campus. It should be buzz with activities and students can decide what interests them. At Rishihood we are creating a very vibrant student led system. The idea is put students in leadership positions in these areas and my experience suggests that they can do wonders when you have faith in their abilities.

Please let us know about some key achievements of your institution and/or your student(s) in MADS at national/international level?

Since Rishihood University is a new University and will open its doors for students in July 2020, we do not have any such cases. We have however, decided to give credit to students who have been active in co-curricular activities including in sports during the admission process. This is our way to saying we value what you have done in the past besides your academic performance. Rishihood University will be a role model for other institutions in this area.

What are your personal interests in Music, Art, Dance or Sports and how do you continue to pursue them?

At a personal level I have immense interest in all these activities. In sports I enjoy playing cricket, Table Tennis, and Badminton. I am good at swimming. On the art side I love sculpture, oil painting, sketching and pottery. I enjoy music but I guess that is an art that I have not been able to reach any level. I have however, always enjoyed dramatics and have participated in them during my college days and have been training students in this area.

Most of my interest areas, I peruse along with my students. When you work with students you also encourage them to learn. I am always with students in every activity that I want them to participate in. The fact is that if I as a Vice Chancellor come out in the field to play with students, they all want to be there with me. This is my starting point in creating a culture of co-curricular activities on the campus and it works well. It also then brings the teachers on to the activity area.

Any other thoughts you may want to share.

The most important message I want to give to all institutions is that Students are thinkers so give them an opportunity to showcase their creative side of their personality. Teachers have to be caring and have to break the glass wall that keeps them away from each other. To the students I will say that your life is in your hands and we as teachers are there to help you achieve your objectives. When you join a university, make the best use of the opportunities that are available to you. Work with your teachers and learn as much as you can. But most of all develop your personality and get rid of insecurity, fear, frustrations, and failures. Life if going to be wonderful and you are the creators of new India so work and make choices wisely.

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