Ar. Rajendra Kumar: Empowering Educational Institutions and Reforming Education
Ar. Rajendra Kumar
Ar. Rajendra Kumar | Director | School of Architecture, Noida International University

Transforming a student’s life, taking them from where they are to where they are meant to be, is a long and hard task. However, thanks to our educators, they dedicatedly work to ensure that their students turn into skilled professionals who demonstrate a cross-disciplinary knowledge of all domains complemented with the ability to learn quickly.

Such educators prepare children for the future who act as a valuable asset to any company or profession they choose to work. Now imagine having such educators at the helm of any educational institution. They not go beyond the conventional educational norms to ensure that students receive the rightful and holistic education.

Adhering to the same belief and our pursuit of finding such educational influencers made us cross paths with Ar. Rajendra Kumar, Director at School of Architecture, Noida International University. The below conversation with him will us understand his outlook on education and how he transforms everything around them.

According to you, how important is an institute’s culture to you and what measures do you take to maintain your desired culture?

For any student and subsequently professionals, the role of Institution i.e. Alma mater is very important key factor for shaping personalities and their work ethics in industry. With innovative pedagogy in our academic curriculum, I try to engage students with exposure of industry in addition of book’s academic theories.

SoA, NIU has, its 3 main USPs engraved in teachings. Which are:-

  •  Industry oriented curriculum,
  •  Global exposure,
  •  Social responsibility.

In addition of regular academics, site visits, expert lectures, students have been participating in number of National and International conferences in the region. It gives them opportunities of networking, as well as newer way of educative experiences. I had been putting continuous efforts for making our students ready for not only towards present industry demands, rather they should be also being aware of futuristic need of profession.

Kindly share the teaching philosophy at the School of Architecture, Noida International University? Also, share your roles and responsibilities at the school.

At SoA NIU, students are given great emphasis on industry oriented curriculum. There are continuous efforts for professional orientatition and exposure for students from very beginning of course. We try to organize industry expert talks, site visits, live case examples for students, so that they get wider exposures.

Having my global exposure of almost all continents and having professional connects internationally, I try to extend all possible opportunities to my students. I have invited number of international speakers for interactions with students. Signed MoU with International institutions for academic exchange and joint efforts towards academic enhancement of students.

I was recently invited to lead the delegation of famous Indian architects to USA and was invited for lecture at Columbia University, New York. As part of delegation agenda, I was to curate exhibition on theme: ‘Today’s Indian Architecture’ at Consulate of India, New York. I encouraged my students to send the work for exhibition and finally it was exhibited. It gave great sense of pride to students and institution both for having their academic work exhibited at such a great forum.

In your opinion, over the years, how technology has changed the architecture discipline?

Absolutely Yes! In last 2-3 decades, world has been witnessing continuous changes of technology advancement in every field, more specifically Information Technology, Which also brought major change in the way , how people gather information, way of socializing and also it made click easy possible to connect with world and know the unknown. Thanks to platforms like, online tutorials, social site etc.

When world is changing this way, Architecture profession is also changing by same speed. Software has taken place of drafting boards and pen pencils in architecture offices and also in academics. Laptops, tablets etc., are new ways of drawings presentation at site and offices.

Now every information is easily available to everyone and clients are also well exposed to global trends, latest technology etc. Project expectation and benchmarks are becoming higher in the time of globalisation. So today’s and future architecture profession is not only taking in consideration of local need, rather architects have to think broader.

What are your values as an institute’s leader? How do you ensure these values are upheld by employees?

As a leader of institute, I need to make sure that my students should be at par with industry need of today and also ready for future in addition of better human values.

Our graduates will be innovative, ready for future challenges and exposed internationally, which bring extra edge for any organisation where our students are going for jobs or internship. During Internship period, I try to stay in touch with offices where our students are interning to make sure that students are on right path and also take feedback by organisations about each student. Our recent graduates are well placed. Their expertise and values are well received in field.

What aspects of your job are the most challenging and how do you overcome them?

In today’s time when large numbers of professional colleges are existing as compare to decades back and new institutions are adding in major and small cities, everywhere. Many a time in remote areas, much far from main cities it’s difficult to get good faculties, experts and fast connectivity to reach campus due to various practical reasons.

We at school try to organise our academic schedule in such a way that on weekends or whatever free time, we connect with industry, i.e. site visits, expert meetings in cities, participation in conferences etc.

What advice can you give to graduates who seek to become educational influencers in the field of education?

Education is like parenting of student who is going to be future citizen contributing for betterment of mankind and national or world. It is very important for any educationists to upgrade with global pace. Today’s students might be physically in teacher’s domain but he/she is connected with the world at the same time. It is very important for continuous pedagogical innovation in our teaching, the same way how world is changing. One should be having inclination of trying and finding solutions of any problem in more than one way. Every failed attempt will teach something new. “To be a good teacher, one should be great student”

Kindly share what you have planned for the forthcoming years.

I have dream that my students should get placed in good organizations, be great professionals and good human being, who are going to be change makers for the betterment of world. In India, there is great need of essential reform in both level of education i.e. Primary Education (K-12) and Higher Education+ Research Area.

Skill development and Vocational education are also much needed aspect in Indian context. I am continuously working towards some innovative platforms and creating new forums which contribute new dimension in Indian education system, especially in higher education area and skill development.

About the Leader

Ar. Rajendra Kumar is Director of School of Architecture, Noida International University (SoA, NIU) Greater Noida. He graduated from Chandigarh College of Architecture, India and Post graduation from Politecnico Di Milano, Italy. He has worked in Spain, Italy, China, UAE. He is member of Council of Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) USA, also member of various global Institutions and think tanks, like International Society of City and Regional Planners (ISOCARP), Netherlands, Planners 4 Climate Action, UN Habitat Climate etc.

His experiences include environmentally sensitive architecture and ecological projects on various scales ranging from buildings to urban design. He delivered lecture on many National and international forums on various issues related to cities, social reforms, Energy, sustainable environment etc. He is actively involved in academics and has also been a jury member of many Competitions. He guided 100 plus architecture students of India, Germany, Poland, Russia, Nigeria, Bhutan for Architecture Thesis, dissertations and research.

He was part of International project, “Neighbourhood Park Design in Academichesky area” of Yekaterinburg, Russia with International students’ team and most recently developed Design Manuel on theme “Public Spaces of Tomorrow” Research project with International students in collaborations with Gdansk University and International team of experts along with PhD scholars and International students. He travelled extensively in many part of globe and keen photographer. His works have been exhibited in many exhibitions and event in India and Abroad. He was also awarded with the ‘Indian Young Achievers Award’.

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