Education is the voyage from ignorance to attaining the ultimate knowledge. With proper guidance, an individual can transform into a furnished citizen and a seasoned professional. Many women have attained tremendous knowledge in their field of choice and have introduced transformational initiatives in the field of education. They have taken up respectable positions as leaders in the education sector.
A renowned educator who has embraced innovation and excellence while shaping a bright future for the students is Dr. Priyanka Joshi More. She serves as an Assistant Professor in History at Progressive Education Society’s Modern College of Arts, Science and Commerce (Autonomous), Shivajinagar, Pune.
We, at The Knowledge Review, got an opportunity to sit down with Dr. Priyanka. In an interview, she shared about her journey through the education sector, her opinions about the education industry, her noteworthy achievements, and her future plans. Following are the highlights of the interview:
Please tell us about your journey throughout the education sector right from the beginning of your career.
My journey as an educator has always been filled with fun and learning. Each year, with every batch, I learn something new and ways to improve myself as a teacher. I was a student of the American curriculum as my parents were posted abroad under the Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi. My first job was in Oakridge International School, an IB School situated in Hyderabad. I was lucky to have been provided an opportunity there as I had no prior teaching experience then, but they trusted my potential and gave me the scope. There, I did not just realize that I enjoyed teaching, but it became a fun process as a teacher-cum-learner myself, interacting with students and colleagues. As I was abroad as a student and all my experiences I had as a student in India have shaped me to become the teacher I am today.
What inspired you to step into the education industry? Who were your role models growing up?
To be honest I had no role models as I never imagined being a teacher. I wanted to be a gynaecologist, but as I had studied abroad, when I came to India for my college, I had to take the Arts stream, then after the first year of my BA, I never intended to major in History, but that also happened and now I am where I am, with no regrets. The only inspiration I had from my teachers was that History – the subject, has always been taught at the school level as cramming of dates, names and events, which I had experienced also; so, when I completed my Honours in History, I comprehended that History is much more than that. Students feel so fed up with History just memorizing facts, and this is what I implemented to change my teaching patterns. To make it a fun and interesting subject.
Tell us about your esteemed institute and its mission, vision, and core values.
Currently, I am a college teacher, Assistant Professor in History at Progressive Education Society’s Modern College of Arts, Science and Commerce (Autonomous), Shivajinagar, Pune, established in 1970 is a multi-faculty educational institute permanently affiliated to Savitribai Phule Pune University (formerly University of Pune). The college is known to be a premier institute of Progressive Education Society.
The college is carefully nurturing all-round development of over 12500 students through academic and co- and extra-curricular activities, thus enabling them to be ‘Proactive Best Citizens’, keeping in both letter and spirit, the Mission Statement of the institution. University Grants Commission, New Delhi has awarded Autonomous Status to the college from the academic year 2019-20 for the next 10 years. Our College imparts education mainly in the said three streams and is presently offering 26 UG, 23 PG courses and 9 approved research centres in which studies leading to M.Phil and/or Ph. D. degrees are offered. The college has initiated new academic programmes such as M.Sc. (Computer Application), M.A. (Hindi), M.A. (History) and courses in Fashion Technology. The College has received sanctions for 2 B.Voc Courses by UGC viz. B.Voc. in Animator and B.Voc. in Landscaping and Gardening. A sanction for the course M.Voc in Fashion Technology is also received from UGC.
We are privileged to mention below some honours to the credit of the college:
- Best Innovative Teacher Award by SPPU, 2022
- ARIIA Band Beginner Ranking, MoE, Govt of India, 2021
- Best College Award (NSS) by SPPU, 2021
- Best NSS Officer Award by SPPU, 2021
- Best College Award by SPPU, 2021
- Best College Award (Sports) by SPPU (2021)
- Best Teacher Award by SPPU (2021)
- Best Non-teaching Staff Award by SPPU (2021)
- Unnat Bharat Scheme, 2021
- Award as Mentor Institution under ‘Paramarsh’ Scheme by UGC (2019)
- Voc. Scheme by UGC for 2 Programs (2019)
- Voc. Scheme by UGC (2019)
- Autonomous Status by UGC (2019)
- Best College award (Sports) by SPPU (2019)
- DST-FIST Schemes (2018)
- Best Accessible Website by Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (2018)
- Voc. (Fashion Technology and Apparel Designing) (2018)
- Best College award (Sports) by SPPU (2018)
- Voc. Scheme by UGC, (2018)
- ‘A+’ Grade with CGPA 3.51 by NAAC (2017)
- CPE status by UGC New Delhi (2017)
- Best College award (Sports) by SPPU (2017)
- Best College award (Sports) by SPPU (2016)
- Community College Scheme by UGC (2015)
- ISO 9001:2008 Certification (2015)
- Best Principal award by SPPU (2014)
- Best College award (NSS) by SPPU (2014)
- DST-FIST Schemes (2013)
- Star College Scheme by DBT, Govt. of India (2013)
- UGC-BSR Scheme (2012)
- CPE status by UGC New Delhi (2011)
- ‘A’ Grade with 3.15 CGPA by NAAC (2010)
- Best College Award by SPPU (2008)
What are the priorities of your institute in terms of course objectives and learning outcomes?
Being an autonomous institute, we design our own syllabus. The course objectives are defined at the start of the detailed syllabus of every course. the syllabus is designed by defining the program outcomes, program-specific outcomes and course outcomes, based on the blooms taxonomy. The attainment of the outcomes defined are calculated at the end of every academic year. The college has defined its graduation attributes. Some online courses have been created by the college to tune the students to meet these graduation attributes. The students are offered bridge courses to fill the gap between the academics in some cases. The industry-oriented courses are offered to the students to bridge the gap between industry and academics
The college has a history of rank holder students for years in SPPU. The college also has a policy to encourage research culture among teachers and students. A unique ‘Yuva Sanshodhak’ scheme is launched by the college to inculcate research attitudes among students. More than 75% of staff members are involved in research activity. Research endeavours have been geared up in the last five years with increased participation of students and teachers in research, with a greater number of major and minor research projects being funded by different funding agencies.
Kindly share your views regarding interactive, online educational content and how it is redefining the ways we learn.
I have an entire paper published on this titled – ‘From Guru to E-Guru: Shifting Paradigms in Teaching during the Pandemic’ published in the book, “COVID-19 and Higher Education: Changing Paradigms and Issues” (ISBN: 978-93-91260-21-7). In this paper, I have looked at the positive and negative changes that have occurred with the new patterns of online teaching, with a comparison between India and foreign countries. From my first job, I have been using Smartclass and as a college teacher, to use Online Learning Management Systems. Apart from that the use of online resources, software and apps does make the teaching faster and readily available, but I also feel there are restrictions to it. It helps the teachers and students to become technologically advanced, but coming to theoretical subjects, can cause obstacles at times too. So, I would say, I feel very neutral about it.
What are the biggest challenges and struggles faced by educators in general?
This is also something I have mentioned in detail in my paper (mentioned above): I feel we can look into these challenges categorizing them in two sections – pre-Covid and post-Covid. I would comment on some of the post-Covid challenges in general which I realized during the research for my paper – that online teaching reduces the ‘teacher-learner connect’ that was present in the regular offline modes. Another factor that I realised that many educators faced while shifting to online mode, was the unfamiliarity with technology- using apps and software – it was an easy transition for many and the reason some have quit their jobs also. Not all are well versed with the English language, and understanding the usage of these apps/software, reading instructions and so on, was not easy. So, although it is all good to say that online teaching and learning has its charm and benefits in a globalized era, it also has its drawbacks which the educators have faced. Institutes need to understand this and lend a helping hand.
Education is considered a tool of empowerment. What efforts do you and the institution take to make sure that education is provided to those who need it?
“Everyone has the right to education”, I and my institute, strongly believe in this.
A separate ‘International Students Cell’ has also been established for 84 International students to address all issues related to them. In order to get placement opportunities for students and to seek guidance from the industrial sector, an ‘Industry Academia Collaboration Committee’ is formed. The committee takes initiative in holding periodic meetings of the experts from industry, students, and staff of different departments of the college. Similarly, special centres viz, ‘Center for Promotion of Research’, ‘Center for Teaching, Learning and Evaluation’ and ‘Competitive Examination Guidance Centre’ have been established.
The library infrastructure is renovated completely, and the ambience of the library is improved by modern amenities like internet, accessing e-books, staff studies section, library website, library e-bulletin and Digital Language Laboratory has been set up for enhancing communication skills. The college has also substantially increased the use of ICT facilities in teaching, learning, evaluation, and administration.
NSS and Physical education units have been adjudged as the best units under SPPU, Pune, for the academic year 2014 and 2016 respectively. Physical education is successively recipient of the best unit award by SPPU. Our NCC cadets have made remarkable achievements. One student has been awarded a prestigious ‘Prime Minister Trophy’ being the best cadet at the all-India level. In the last five years, three cadets participated in Republic Day Parade at New Delhi. Two of our students were also awarded the ‘Star of India’ award in the year 2013-14. The college has a well-established and active Alumni Association. Many Scientists, IPS officers, political leaders, industrialists, educationalists, artists, and army officers are our pride alumni.
Resource mobilization from various funding agencies was taken up as a major strategy to improve the infrastructure, augment teaching-learning facilities and allocate projects to students to make learning more ‘student centric’. The college was given the status of ‘College with Potential for Excellence’ by the UGC in 2011 and is continued in 2017, which gave momentum to all the activities of the college. The college was also awarded DST-FIST by Ministry of Science and Technology, which helped in enhancing the infrastructure for research. Programmes like DBT (Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology) STAR scheme have focused on additional skill development amongst undergraduate students.
Kindly mention any of your awards, accolades, and accreditations.
- Completed a Certificate Course on “Gendering Social History” in the Krantijyoti Savitribai Phule Women’s Studies Centre, University of Pune. 2009.
- Was awarded Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) for Ph.D.by the Indian Historical Council of Research (ICHR), New Delhi for tenure of 2 years.
- ‘First Rank’ Certificate for standing First rank in Master of Arts in History, University of Pune. 2008
- Qualified the State Eligibility Test (SET), Maharashtra for Assistant Professor in History exam held on 28th January 2018.
- Presented a paper “Perspectives through Cinema” in the Indian History Congress held at Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi. December 2014
- Presented a paper “Colonial Gaze and the Representation of Women in Hindi Cinema” in the International Seminar on ‘Colonial Ideologies and the Princely States’ held by the Department of History, Abasaheb Garware College, Pune in January 2015
- Presented Paper “Films as a Source of History” in Workshop for Teachers at the Department of History, University of Pune in February 2015
- Presented a paper “Depictions of Nationalism in Hindi Cinema” in the National Conference on Transitions in Indian History at the Department of History, University of Pune, March 2015.
- Co-authored paper “Dr. Ambedkar’s Role in the establishment of the Reserve Bank of India” with Akash More for National Seminar on Dr. B.R. Ambedkar’s Conribution to India at Abasaheb Garware College, Pune in January 2016.
- Presented paper “Films as an Approach to Cultural History” at State Level Seminar on ‘Cultural History: Research Methodology and New Approach’ at V.G. Shivdare College, Solapur in March 2017
- Presented paper titled “Representations of Women in Hindi Cinema” in the 78th session of the Indian History Congress, Jadavpur University, Kolkata on 28-30th December, 2017.
- Paper published “Visualizing Transformations in History through the Cinematic Lens” in the State level Seminar Proceedings on ‘Social and Cultural Transformations through the Ages’ Modern College, Ganeshkhind, Pune in February 2017
- Paper published “From Guru to E-Guru: Shifting Paradigms in Teaching during the Pandemic” in the book – “COVID-19 and Higher Education: Changing Paradigms and Issues”. Editor- Shikha Jyoti Deka. Eureka Publications, in August 2021. ISBN: 978-93-91260-21-7
- Paper published “In the Shadows of Corona Virus: Ordeals Faced by Women during the Lockdown” in the book – “Impact of COVID-19 on Women in Asia and the Pacific”.Editor- Shikha Jyoti Deka. Eureka Publications, Printing in Progress.
- Received Accolade from The American Merit Council, for contribution as an Educator and Researcher in Humanities/Mental Moral Science, issued by the American Merit Council, New Jersey, USA.
- Received Award the FoxClues India Prime Awards for Top100 Researchers for paper “From Guru to E-Guru: Shifting Paradigms in Teaching during the Pandemic” in the book – “COVID-19 and Higher Education: Changing Paradigms and Issues”.
- Member of the National Geographic Educators Community for Innovative Learning under National Geographic, USA.
What advice can you give to those who want to step in the field of education?
Every teacher possesses special qualities so there is no one way of achieving success. However, I would like to say that certain teachers enter the field with a bias or a mindset, I would personally say that as a teacher that will create obstacles. Teaching is a very responsible task as we shape the future society of a nation. Yes, teachers are humans, and we make mistakes, no doubt! But what is more important is to realize, rectify and avoid repeating in the future. Coming to my subject, teaching History is not an easy task. So, to young teachers who wish to become academicians, I would just say this, first learn to be objective, learn to accept criticism and opposing views, because History is a controversial and complex subject. It can be a uniting factor in society and also a dividing factor. We have students from all sections of society, and for that, we need to overcome our biases and teach the facts in a manner that it does not become an issue. Also, as some teachers just believe in providing factual details and memorizing them, it is essential to make the subject interesting, appealing and understanding. Learning is not just memorizing, it is knowledge. Hence, I feel, not everyone can teach History.
Please share what lies ahead for you and your institution in the near future.
I always believe that one should never stop, keep doing something, keep developing yourself. I have multiple hobbies, apart from teaching, which I do to relax, they include – music, poetry, dance, painting, sewing, making candles and so on. Apart from college work, I write academic articles/papers, but I am also interested in writing fiction – short stories and poems, which I publish on online platforms. I am also in the process of publishing some short stories and poems in anthologies with various publishing houses in and out of India. They are all works in progress. I also participate in Writing Competitions, not to win but to improve my writing, as I have begun as an amateur writer. I do not come from a literature stream but from a Social Science background, so it is not easy, but I strongly believe in the concept of – ‘practice makes perfect’ and one day I will achieve my dream – to author top-selling novels. I have two drafts ready – one almost ready to send and the other near completion, but as it is not my field, I am still understanding the basics of publishing before sending them to a publisher. On the professional level, I feel each day calls for improvement and I will continue to strive to do the best for me and my institute.
Connect with me: Facebook: @drpriyankajo20 or email – more.j.priyanka@gmail,com