The success of any educational institution rests on the shoulders of dedicated principals, who govern with focus and determination. They focus on nurturing every student and in shaping their future. These principals are always driven by the zeal to transform learning and education, while providing every student with an equal opportunity to grow academically.
One such devoted principal who is driven to take education and learning to the peak of excellence is Dr. C Ananda Vayaravel. He serves as the Professor and Principal of Sri Venkateshwaraa College of Paramedical Sciences, Puducherry.
Professor Vayaravel’s Professional Journey
Hailing from the Union Territory of Peaceful Puducherry, Professor Vayaravel completed his schooling from Petit Seminaire Higher Secondary School, an Institute with more than 175 years of existence. He graduated in Medical Laboratory Technology and completed his post-graduation in Medical Biochemistry, both from JIPMER, Puducherry. Professor Vayaravel completed his doctoral degree in Medical Biochemistry from Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth University, Puducherry. MBA in Hospital Administration adds a feather to his crown.
Professor Vayaravel is passionate about teaching the students of health care (medical, dental, nursing, pharmacy, and other allied health sciences) and has been enlightening them with his innovative teaching for the past 21 years. He has served various institutes such as Pondicherry University, Mahatma Gandhi Medical College, Puducherry, ACS Medical College, Chennai, and Sri Venkateshwaraa Medical College, Puducherry.
Professor Vayaravel’s contribution in the field of research is also highly commendable. He possesses 8 patents, 12 national and international publications, along with 10 book chapter contributions to his credit. He has received many accolades such as Top 10 Principal of the year 2020, Best Academician Award 2020, Best Researcher award 2021, Best Writer award 2021, and Best Educator award 2021. He is inclined towards medical education and inter-disciplinary research.
Professor Vayaravel is a reviewer in peer journals such as Heliyon, Science open, International Journal of Biochemistry & Clinical Research, and Journal of Education Technology in Health Science. He is also an Editor in Immortal Publications and an upcoming journal- Indian Journal of Medical Laboratory Science.
He is a Certified Professional for Quality Implementation in Hospitals, as well as a Certified Internal Auditor for quality training and accreditation. Additionally, Professor Vayaravel is also a Mentor of CAHO (Consortium of Accredited Healthcare Organizations) Student Research Committee.
Currently, he is serving as the Professor and Principal of Sri Venkateshwaraa College of Paramedical Sciences, Ariyur, Puducherry since 2018.
In an interview with The Knowledge Review, Professor Vayaravel shares about his inspiration, his opinions about modern education, his future plans, and so on. Following are the highlights of the interview:
1. What inspired you to step into the medical and allied health sciences sector?
I had aspired to become a doctor in the field of medicine and in my days
Puducherry had only JIPMER as its sole medical college. It was unfortunate that I didn’t get through and settled for a graduation in Medical Laboratory Technology. It was during this period, I realized the importance of Allied Health Sciences in the Health Sector and decided to pursue postgraduation and further complete my doctorate. Eighteen years went by with me working as a tutor, lecturer and assistant professor handling Medical, Dental, Nursing, Pharmacy, and other Allied Health Science courses. It was in 2018, after I was selected as the Principal of Allied Health Sciences that gave me the platform and motivation to further focus and contribute
exclusively to this sector and serve the nation.
2. Tell us about your Sri Venkateshwaraa College of Paramedical Sciences (SVCPMS) and your association with it.
My association with Sri Venkateshwaraa Group of Institutions (SVGI) dates back to 30th April’14 when I joiined as Asst. Professor in the Department of Biochemistry. Sri Venkateshwaraa College of Paramedical Sciences (www.svcpms.ac.in), a unit of Ramachandra Educational Trust was established in 2010 in Ariyur, Puducherry and B.Sc (Medical Laboratory Technology) was the first course to be started. SVCPMS is a sister concern of the ‘State of Art’, Sri Venkateshwaraa Medical College Hospital and Research Centre, an 850 bedded Tertiary Care Hospital.
After I took charge as Professor and Principal on 30th July’18, SVCPMS has started to expand its aura in the field of Paramedical Sciences. We have added 3 courses, one each, in the field of Radiology, Cardiology and Dialysis and several other courses (Diploma to Doctorate) are in the pipeline to make SVCPMS an Educational hub catering to the needs of students in and around Puducherry.
3. Kindly share your views regarding interactive, online educational content and how it is affecting students and modern classrooms. How are you helping make educational technology usable and applicable to school or college education?
The pandemic era has highlighted the importance of online education for all students from elementary school to college. Through a virtual platform, it has gathered all of the students into a single row. E-learning has also provided students with access to teachers all around the world. Though we faced some challenges initially, like technical glitches and the inability of certain economically weaker sections (EWS) to afford an android mobile, the online interactive mode of education has been a boon to students who were
unable to attend offline classes due to lockdown. This was in accordance with the results of a national survey (in the process of publication) we did in the mid-2020s on the impact of online learning among medical and allied health science students in India. Once offline classes started, students belonging to EWS were given special coaching to be on par with others.
4. Which branch of educational philosophy do you and SVCPMS subscribe to and implement in your classrooms? And why?
Educational philosophies are divided into Teacher, Student and Society centric. Rather than following a single policy, we identify what is best for our children and provide it appropriately. We teach pupils what they need to know, not what we know as teachers. To help the pupils understand, we use a variety of instructional methods, ranging from chalk and board to LCD. ‘Teaching is the best way to learn.’ We implement this philosophy by holding small-group student seminars. As individuals overcome their fear, their self-confidence grows, and their communication abilities improve.
Practical-oriented instruction is equally critical in their learning process. They are also placed in clinical laboratories to learn how to collect and process samples, according to a native American proverb “Tell me and I’ll forget” Show me, and I could forget, include me and I’ll understand”.
Weekly slip tests, monthly oral, written, and practical assessments followed by model examinations, and finally the University examination are all used to assess the student’s progress. We do conduct revision and special classes exclusively for low achievers. As health-care professionals, we motivate them by emphasizing the fact that their duty is to serve mankind after graduation.
5. Education is considered a tool for empowerment. What effort do you and Sri Venkateshwaraa College of Paramedical Sciences take to make sure that education is provided to those who need it?
SVCPMS is situated in a rural area in Puducherry, catering to the educational needs of average and below average students. Majority of the pupils enter our institute as a below average student and leave as a graduate with flying colours. We care them by Mentor Mentee program with a Student to Teacher ratio 10:1.
The expansion of the virtual world of teaching due to the suspension of in-person learning during the past year forced me to reach out to and convince several of my friends and colleagues who are currently experts in their respective fields of study to participate in webinar and E-lecture series. This proved to be extremely informative and was very well received by my students who benefited immensely from these virtual lectures. (https://svcpms.ac.in/svcpms-e-guestlecture-series/)
Our management is also kind enough to give away cash prizes to the University toppers and also provide free education every year to one student belonging to EWS category.
In addition to education, we do develop the skills of our wards to reach greater heights after their graduation. I was honored with a ‘Certificate of Empowerment’ by the publishers of Young minds publishing house for guiding more than 50 students to author a chapter in an e-book during the COVID-19 pandemic (‘SCIENCEInviting your perceptions’ – ISBN 978-81-949421-9-1).
The current COVID-19 pandemic has been very stressful for students who have been placed in an unenviable position with a dark cloud hanging over their future. To provide some guidance in these testing times, I formed a group consisting of more than 750 allied health science students across India in Telegram with the aim of providing updated information about educational and job opportunities. I take pride in the fact that I was successful in getting some of them placed in premier hospitals across the country. (https://t.me/joinchat/TdH0dSPar1uY9VdY)
6. What is the one thing you would like to change in India’s higher education system?
One nation-One syllabus (from elementary school to higher education) with uniform pattern of assessment by qualified professionals will be that one thing which I would like to change in India’s higher education system.
7. Please share what lies ahead for you and your institute in the near future.
Educating and empowering the students, bringing out their individuality and making a better India through them is what that lies between me and my Institute in the near future.
8. What advice would you like to give those who wish to step into the field of medical education?
Becoming a Medical / Health professional is a combination of ethical and social responsibility in conjunction with academic excellence. Students must be highly organized, and it is very essential that they take care of their health and personal needs regularly. Medical education will be demanding, and students must be mentally prepared and focussed to achieve their goals. As much as money plays a major role in everyone’s life, we should practice altruism as we deal with people’s life and understand the role we play in creating a healthy society and thus a healthy nation. Success is a journey, not a destination. Similarly, education is a continuous process. I wish you all the best. Jai Hind.