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Principal of the unexpected

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

"Teaching? Me? Ugh, not at all," says Dr. Suhas Pednekar, who from an ex-student of Ramnarian Ruia College in Matunga, now is the Principal of the college. Hailing from a remote village in Konkan, Pednekar never thought about getting into the world of education. He shares his mind-boggling journey about his college with Afternoon D&C in a conversation with Aishwarya Iyer...

Pednekar completed his 10th Standard from a municipal school in a remote village in Konkan. The village he lived in neither lacked electricity or transport facility. "I always stood first in my class, but because of our financial condition, my parents never had any big dreams for me," said Pednekar.
Back in the day, he never imagined stepping out of his village and coming to Mumbai. Later, one of his brothers, after many complications and sacrifices sent Pednekar to Ruia College. Pednekar was 16 back then. Speaking about the emotions attached to the college, he said, "The only difference between the day I arrived and now is the growth in my stature."

Ruia-ite till the end...
Pednekar completed his graduation in Chemistry. Later, he post-graduated in Organic Chemistry to later on receive a PhD in the same subject, all in the same college. "It feels odd to even think of leaving this college. I wish to be here till my last breath," he said.

Unexpected turns..
Pednekar believes in the quote 'Life takes unexpected turns' because the journey from being a lecturer to Principal was one of the most unplanned things. While pursuing his PhD, Pednekar had quite different plans for himself. "I wanted to go abroad and do my PhD." he shared. And out of nowhere, a member of the Chemistry faculty in the college quit, and a Chemistry professor was needed. "I thought about the things this college has given me. I did not want to turn my back when the college needed me,” he reminisced. Pednekar joined as a professor along with pursuing his PhD and thought of teaching till the management finds another professor.

Becoming the Principal
Pednekar became the Principal of Ruia College in the 2006 and felt privileged to have become one. "I am trying my best to give back to college because - I am whatever - because of this college," shared this Principal. "Teaching and students are the ultimate thing for me but unfortunately I get very less time because of administrative works which increases once became the Principal," he shared.

Going Autonomous!
Ramnarian Ruia College is very soon becoming 'Autonomous'. Pednekar feels that going autonomous will remove all limitations and restrictions that the college has now, and will provide freedom to the management. He feels there is something missing in the education system. And according to him, to remove obsolescence and bring relevance, autonomy is must. He said, "What the teachers are teaching in the class, referring to the book, and what the reality is to the world,  is two different things. And to maintain both things, it is important for a college to keep things updated; Autonomy will provide it."

Principles Pednekar believe in :

  • Sustain and Survive.
  • Hands on training.
  • No exam-orientated education.
  • Give students their freedom.
  • Use social media advantageously.
  • Maximum flexibility.
  • Create awareness.
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