RK University (RKU) turns twelve-years in 2017, including its former self of RK Group of Colleges, with which it started back in 2006. In 2011, RKU took the bold step of becoming the first private university in Saurashtra, Gujarat. Academic excellence has nowhere been possible without academic autonomy. Since 2011, a silent academic revolution, driven by insightful and futuristic innovations, has been taking place in our serene residential campus in the outskirt of the city of Rajkot.
Higher education has been rapidly transforming globally. An appropriate university degree has usually become ‘the passport’ to the overall success in the future life of any youth. In India, we have the highest population of youth globally, nearly 20% of the world, in the age-group of 18-25.
Various global findings often highlight the lack of quality in India’s otherwise recent drive to build quantity – starting from much of the primary education to the higher education. India can generate unprecedented ‘demographic dividend’ if our youth is imparted with the right mix of knowledge and skills, which can take the nation to its rightful place globally. But the absence of quality in our higher education will invariably result in the opposite, where we cannot sustain higher economic growth, to higher quality of life for our populace.
‘The Newsroom’, a US TV Series, observed: ‘The first step in solving any problem is recognizing there is one.’ In the present context of mushrooming colleges resulting in the hyper competitive higher education environment, unfortunately many colleges often claim to be the best in their respective categories, and thereby proclaim to be world-class. Any responsible academician would agree that this prevailing scenario where academic institutes often tend to mislead students is most unfortunate, as academic institutes must be responsible social citizens.
At RKU, we recognize that there are fundamental problems with most of our Indian universities (and more so with India’ s affiliated colleges, the reason why we became a university in 2011). There are around 700-plus UGC recognized universities in India currently (RKU is one of them), whereas the number of colleges are more than 37000.
By acknowledging that there are fundamental problems with much of India’s higher education, RKU has now geared up to address them in our own academic programs. Within a short span of four years of becoming a university, RKU has strengthened its internal academic processes following best global practices, thereby probably making us the leading university in Saurashtra (and Rajkot) in areas of studies offered across our seven Schools, namely Engineering, Management, Computer Science and IT, Diploma Studies, Physiotherapy, Pharmacy and Science. A look at our outcome-based teaching pedagogy, or at our ‘Interakt’ lab would help one understand the depth and breadth of these university-wide initiatives and innovations. We believe these are essential to achieve the simple but profound vision of higher education, as envisaged by our President: ‘students at RKU (should) feel happy about learning, about going to class. Learning should be relevant to their life, and they must feel that their experience at RKU was a worthwhile one.’
As a responsible university, we adhere to our social responsibilities. In this age of Internet and Google, when it is popularly believed that it keeps all of us well-informed, BBC observed: “The internet is not keeping everyone informed, nor will it: it is, in fact, magnifying problems of information inequality, misinformation, polarization and disengagement”. I make this reference here because of a similar misinformation may still be there on stature of RKU as a university.
Our sprawling residential campus is ideal for higher education, as observed by UGC too. We see these achievements merely as the beginning of our long journey. Today, we can safely claim to offer students of Saurashtra an academic quality in any of these seven disciplines that is better than the average quality offered in popular academic clusters like Ahmedabad, Pune or in the Delhi/NCR region.In a short span of time, RKU has been able to provide high quality professional and scientific education to the students’ community of Saurashtra/Rajkot, addressing a long-felt need of this region. In future, we would like to go higher, and be a high-quality nationally well-known university.
Our fifty-plus academic programs across these Schools are applications and industry oriented, we stress on life skills and communication skills (English increasingly being the global language), and we focus on original and critical thinking through active classroom engagement and participation.
A lot of initiatives are taken in our research front too. We acknowledge that a lot more here needs to be done. We have been continuously working here to meaningfully engage with, and thereby solve real-life challenges faced by industries around, or by helping government bodies around develop necessary capacity to transform themselves – by enabling them to offer tech-enabled participatory governance that is suitable for the 21st century citizen-centric government.
‘A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step’ – says a Chinese proverb. We have made a small beginning. Our willingness, resolve and capacity to transform RKU into a leading national university, with true world-class characteristics, motivate us to achieve higher goals in future.
A world-class university cannot be built without supporting ecosystem – like that of having industry patronage, employer support, collaborative government bodies, etc. We have been working on these areas by reaching out, and forming mutually beneficial sustainable collaborations. We are constantly and continuously looking forward to your supports to our endeavors.
Thank you for your interest in RK University. Please feel free to contact us for any possible and meaningful engagements. In case you are a prospective student looking for transformational professional or scientific education that will empower you with appropriate domain knowledge and life skills, enabling yourself to take on the world, and you have the inner urge to excel, we assure you that RKU is the right place for you.
With best wishes
Prof. T. R. Desai