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Prashant R Nair
Prashant R Nair

Prashant R Nair

Vice Chairman Information Tech

Amrita University

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Thoughts on Education system of our country
India has a highly fragmented education system. Education is on the concurrent list i.e both centre and state have regulatory control. Latest statistics say that there are over 600 universities and over 30,000 colleges of higher education with several levels of control and regulation, multiplicity of regulatory, professional, accreditation and governmental bodies. No doubt, some regulation, checks and balances are needed. But I feel some of the steps to improve quality could be sufficient autonomy should be given, institutional as well as programme accreditation made compulsory, affiliation system of universities simplified, professional bodies like IEEE, ACM, ASME, CSI, IETE, ASHRAE, SAE et to be made stakeholders in various academic initiatives etc. In India, research activity mostly begins at Post Graduate and Doctoral level. I think bright undergraduates can be sensitized to research activity. Of the 30,000 odd colleges in India, many can be upgrades to universities.
Important decision
When I completed my MBA with rank, I took a conscious decision to pursue an academic career. 13 years on, every day has been exciting and inspiring, innovating and interacting with students, organizing several events etc.
My role model
Amrita University has world-renowned spiritual and humanitarian leader, Mata Amritanandamayi Devi as Chancellor. I have heard her outline her vision for the Amrita University to focus on research, activities and development for societal and national development. I would like to share one personal experience that inspired me very much. Since 2005, we have been organizing the Asia Pacific regional contest of ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC). ACM ICPC is considered as the Olympics/World Championship of Computer Programming with a total annual participation of 25,000 students from 2200 universities in 85 countries and our event is one the semi-finals of this worldwide contest. In India, IIT Kanpur and IIT Kharagpur are the other hosts of semi-finals as also top institutions in Asia. ACM ICPC World Finals Championship has never happened in India and is budgeted at Rs. 10 crores. Nevertheless on her direction, we have put a successful bid at Orlando in 2011 for 2016/17.
My strongest skill
I think I have a good flair for networking and organization. I have had the good fortune to organize the biggest events of our Amrita University. This includes several international and national events.
Has organized major events like one of the top engineering techfests in India - Anokha (2012 & 2011), Computer Society of India (CSI) Discover Thinking National Science and ICT Quiz (2012,2013), Institution of Electronics and Telecommunication Engineers (IETE) National Technical Paper Contest (NTPC) (2012), Network Forensics tutorial of IFIP Networking Conference 2010 at IIT Madras, IETE South Zonal seminar on Networking Paradigms and Cyber Security 2010, AMRITA-IBM International Conference on Cloud Computing 2009, CSI National Student Convention (2013, 2009) and regional contest of ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC) Asia Pacific region, which is the semifinals of World Championship of Programming in 2006, 2010, 2011 and 2012.
Influenced by
Amrita University Chancellor, Mata Amritanandamayi Devi for making us believe and act so that we can contribute to the society through our teaching, research and professional activity.
My achievements
1. ASDF Award for Best Academic Administrator (2012). Award presented by Dr. Olivier Crepin LeBlond, Chair, ALAC of ICANN, the body that governs the Internet
2. Computer Society of India (CSI) Academic Excellence award for maximum publishing in the CSI Communications journal, oldest Computer Science journal in India (2011)
3. Erasmus Mundus fellowship for visiting faculty at Sofia University (2009)
4. Instrumental in AMRITA University getting the highest grade , 'A' for all its 5 campuses, 15 schools, 200+ departments and 150 programs by NAAC.
5. Instrumental in Computer Society of India (CSI) Coimbatore chapter winning best regional chapter award in India five times.
6. Instrumental in winning Best CSI Student branch for Amrita School of Engineering, Coimbatore in 2011 and 2012 among over 600 colleges and universities in India
7. Organized one of India's top techfests, Anokha in 2011 and 2012
8. Visiting faculty at University of California, San Diego (2003)
Ensuring success
1.I am presently holding several leadership positions in national professional bodies and industry associations. Positions currently held include National Student Activity Chair of IEEE Computer Society, National Vice-Chair of of IEEE Education Society, Treasurer of Institution of Electronics and Telecommunication Engineers (IETE) Tamil Nadu region, Member of National Student Committee of Computer Society of India (CSI). Earlier positions that I have held are Secretary of CSI Coimbatore chapter and Secretary, IETE Tamil Nadu. I plan to continue my association with these professional bodies and thereby contribute to society.
2. In the process of applying for a Cyber Security research project with a national agency.
Brief description about me
I am Prof. Prashant R.Nair hailing from Trivandrum, Kerala. Since 2000, I have been working at Amrita University, Coimbatore. Presently holding the position of Vice-Chairman - Information Technology. Other positions held at Amrita include Coordinator, Quality Assurance Cell 881984 Advisor-Co-curricular.
Initiative to develop a country
Each one of us has a role to play, however small it may be. Every professional must take ownership and responsibility of being a stakeholder in the nation's development. I remember Former US president Late JFK's words, "Ask not what the country can do for you, ask what you can do for the country".
Couple of years from now
At Amrita University, in the midst of organizing the ACM ICPC world finals for the first time in India. Presently having national roles in various professional bodies like IEEE and CSI. Will strive for bigger roles.
My family background
We hail from a upper middle class family. Father was a founding employee of the award-winning airline, Emirates. He is now retired. Mother is a homemaker. My sister is married and lives in the Bay Area in California, USA.
Degree that I recommend
I recommend every professional must compulsorily take a membership of a professional or industry body like CII, NASSCOM, IEEE, ACM, IETE, CSI, SAE etc. This keeps one abreast of all developments and action as also provides avenues for contribution to society, networking as well as professional development.
Qualities needed to become a successful leader
Honesty, Integrity, Ethics, Fairness, Leading by example.
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