Dr. Arun Patil Ph.D (Tech) Chemical – Tech, From University of Bombay. He worked in the industry for 7 years then moved to academics as a professor in engineering college with 35 yrs of teaching experience in university level, college level and school level . During his tenure he helped establish three other engineering colleges.

Dr. Arun Patil has rich experience in the teaching industry. Read the views of Dr. Arun Patil on his view
on what should be ones point of focus during student days. He also talks about how are life and education different now compared to his times.

Q. What was your main point of focus during your student days?

My education started in a rural setup with Kannada as a medium of instruction. Two things happened to me during the 7yrs of my rural study.

  • I gained immense confidence in myself.
  • I was allowed to articulate my views. Not only in home environment but also in school

Teachers of those day have helped me immensely to focus on my views. By a narrow miss in the
medical rankings, I chose B.Sc for my under grad studies. i wasn’t really much focused on my career until my final year. Since I wanted to do my further studies, I started applying to many courses. Information was not readily available in those days as it is now. Finally got selected in three institutions. One was University of Bombay, second was IIT Kanpur for a special program and the third was Baba Atomic Research Centre. I was not sure on where I should go. And nobody in the local were knowledgeable enough to help me understand which one to choose. First interview was on 6th of July in Bombay. (He remembers the date very well). There was a selection procedure and I was selected. The director of the institute Prof. Khane, called me and congratulated. But I hovered around and he asked me what the problem was. I candidly told him that I have these three admissions and I don’t know where to go? He told me to show all the three letters. He kept aside
the letter of University of Bombay and the other two he tore and threw them away. And that was the turning point in my life.

Q. How education is different now compared to your time?

It was a totally academically loaded environment. We were constantly thinking of new things
focusing on research. During that period as a part of technological association, Tata and Godrej had initiated lecture series where two noble laureates would come and address us. I was the chairman for that association for 8 yrs. I had a lot of opportunity to interact with about 10 global laureates. We had that kind of a charged atmosphere that emphasized a lot on thinking, research and development. In spite of being just a student, I got such huge opportunity. And that’s because I could talk. I could express my views freely. All thanks to my primary education for letting me do that. In fact I was picked up by the Chairman of Tata Chemicals. The experience taught me to look at problems in a holistic way. Also the professors there were of such high caliber. There was one professor called Prof. Iyer who’s one of the noble laureates. That percolated down to students and inspired them to aim high. This was one of the greatest things that i achieved which gave me immense confidence in myself. And that confidence allowed me to do all kinds of unrelated things
like cloud seeding, water purification which I was not exposed to earlier. I had confidence that I could technically succeed though I was not familiar with that particular technology.

Q. Taking a cue from the experience you just mention, for students, parents and teachers who think that during education days, all students have to do is focus on academics and the rest follows later, what have you got to say?

Focusing only on academics during student years is wrong. Academics and other related experiences go hand in hand. Because according to me a doctor is known by his stethoscope, a lawyer is known by his black coat. An engineer should be known by his ability to solve problems. Engineer is a problem solver and for this to happen he has to have 2 basic things. One, he needs to have a broad based understanding of basic engineering and second, build on that what his interests and specialization is. Once this combination comes into play, he is confident to tackle any problem. Not necessarily that he has to do it by himself all the time. He can approach others and take help. But it is his responsibility to get it solved.

Key takeaways:

  1. Let children express their views freely without being judged.
  2. That in turn helps them to articulate well.
  3. Take help of a mentor to make decisions.
  4. Student days are not only about academics.
  5. Extra circular activities and participation in other related school programs help gain immense confidence in a student.

Watch out for more insights by Dr. Arun Patil.