Graphic Era Hill University, a major institution of education in Dehradun, was established in 2011 by Professor (Dr) Kamal Ghanshala, President, Graphic Era Group. The university started functioning within four months of its being established and has completed nine years of excellence in providing education. On this occasion, the Vice-Chancellor, Graphic Era Hill University, Professor (Dr) Sanjay Jasola shared the journey with Himani Binjola Tiwari.
On the occasion of the 10th foundation anniversary, tell us the story behind Graphic Era Hill University.
Graphic Era Deemed to be University was already a centre of excellence in the field of Engineering and Management. We thought that there was a need to provide world-class academic facilities to the people of Uttarakhand, which is why we started GEHU under the leadership of our Chancellor, Professor Dr Kamal Ghanshala. We offer thirty percent reservation to the people of Uttarakhand and a twenty-five percent discount on the fee.
What makes Uttarakhand so special to the university?
As you know, our promoter Professor Dr Kamal Ghanshala hails from Uttarakhand and the people who have studied abroad and have worked in MNCs wanted to come back to Uttarakhand and serve the state. Most of these people are here with us, working in different capacities. I also hail from Uttarakhand so we understand its needs and aspirations.
A diversification of courses has been seen in the university. What was the idea behind the diversification of programmes?
The students of Uttarakhand did not have any major institution to pursue other courses; this is why we gradually started the BCom, English, and Media Mass Communication, Fashion & Fine Arts, Architecture, Pharmacy, Agriculture, Nursing programmes, etc.
In the times of a major pandemic, how is Graphic Era coping with the situation?
Even before the lockdown, we had started our preparations for online classes, although online classes are not new to the faculty and students. Right after the inception of the university, we started Online Open Courses, MOOCs, in 2012. We saw that a lot of people are taking these courses and benefitting from them. So, in 2014, we made it compulsory for the student to complete a four to six weeks course from any premier institution of their choice.
Is it just academics that the university caters to, or are there other facilities on the campus for the students?
We actually believe in the holistic development of our students. Students in different courses have their own individual hobbies like drama, music, photography and we have those facilities and faculty members on the campus itself to help them in other aspects of learning.
How is the university shaping the career of the people coming from the defence background?
Students coming from a defence background are very hardworking, passionate, and determined. Most of these students also want to get into the defence forces. The students themselves run clubs in the university which help them clear exams related to defence. Our faculty members also train students to sit for various competitive exams.
Students from GEHU are establishing world records. Sir, I want you to throw light on that aspect of the university, also.
If a student is passionate about doing something, we encourage them and even financially support them. Our student, Pradeep Rana, who is a cyclist, is touring the world on a bicycle. Two of our students have made papier mache sculptures and our students also have the world record in making the world’s largest ball. These are three world record holders we have in our university. We also have more than 85% of students placed from all the courses and with very good packages.
Students who want to join the university are very keen to know about the faculty and infrastructure of the university. Can you give us some insights into that, too?
We have a modern integrated building here in Doon. Our Bhimtal campus has been rated as the 11th most beautiful campus. We have state of the art labs, the latest computing facilities, a well-stocked library and we provide access to e-journals. Our faculty members also are from institutions like the IITs and foreign universities. Our Chancellor, Dr Kamal Ghanshala, also takes classes every single day.
How has Graphic Era Hill University been contributing during these times of the pandemic?
We made alcohol based sanitisers according to WHO standards and gave 45 litres to the police. We are making masks and so far we have given more than a thousand masks to the district administration and the police. Our students and faculty members are making sanitising chambers. Our management, Prof (Dr) Kamal Ghanshala and Rakhi Ghanshala are personally involved in distributing food packages and have distributed forty thousand kilograms of material to the needy. Our university also offered one of our good hostels to the administration to set up a quarantine centre, also.
You have been to MHRD a number of times. Please share your experience there.
Since we were first in the country to implement MOOC as a part of the curriculum, MHRD invited Graphic Era Hill University in 2018 to showcase our best practices and listed us among the top ten institutions in the country on digital initiatives. In 2019, we were again invited to appreciate our efforts in making quick learning videos. Our university developed online courses for the Commonwealth of Learning, which is an inter-government organisation. Our university also conducts Omnithons, which require students to stay on the campus and make specific products for a continuous 24 hours.
Would you like to say something to the students of the university who are at home?
The students, faculty members and even I are all missing interacting with each other. I hope they all are taking good precautions and taking care of themselves at home. We all are eager to see all of them back on the campus.