Dr.Parteek Bhatia-Impacting Indian education with localized content
Parteek Bhatia is an Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Thapar Institute of Engineering & Technology, Patiala. He has more than eighteen years of academic experience, including six years at D.A.V College Amritsar. He has earned his B.Tech from SLIET and MS from BITS Pilani. He has completed his Ph.D on “UNL Based Machine Translation System for Punjabi Language” from Thapar Institute of Engineering & Technology. He has published more than 75 research papers and articles in Journals, Conferences and Magazines of repute. His research work with UNDL foundation, Geneva, Switzerland involved participation in Advanced UNL School at Alexandria, EGYPT in 2012 and at Geneva, Switzerland in 2013 and 2014. He is a winner of Gold Medal at International competition UNL Olympiad II,UNL Olympiad III and UNL Olympiad IV conducted by UNDL Foundation in year 2013 and 2014. He has authored six books including Simplified Approach to DBMS, Simplified Approach to Visual Basic and Simplified Approach to Oracle. He is acting as Principal Investigator of DST Funded research project on “Automatic Generation of Sign Language from Hindi Text for Communication and Education of Hearing Impaired people”. He is acting as Co-PI on Royal Academy of Engineering (UK) funded research project on “Innovative Research in Pedagogy with Mini-MOOCs blended with instruction strategies to enhance quality in Higher Education”. He has successfully completed research Project on Development of Indradhanush: An Integrated WordNet for Bengali, Gujarati, Kashmiri, Konkani, Oriya, Punjabi and Urdu Sponsored By Department of Information Technology, Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, Govt. of India.
Question: Tell something about your area of interest or any project you are proud of?
Answer: At present, we are working on multiple projects; one project is the development of sign language generation system for hearing impaired people. In this we have developed an API portal via the user can input in the Hindi or English and the text is automatically converted to sign language. We have incorporated Hindi and English language for which we have made multiple API’s via a website can be converted into a generation system. We have also processed some school education textbooks to generate education content for those hearing-impaired people. This is the DST sponsored project, and SANKET App was designed as an outcome of this project. The information about this mobile app and website portal with all the concerned stakeholders, and fortunately, got good responses from them this one project which we have already implemented. Recently we have started to work on the CSIR research project smart agriculture system where we are proposing a precision agricultural system using analytics to predict better irrigation platform. For this project, we have developed an IoT based system using sensors to collect data and to upload it to the cloud. This project is under development stage. In the meanwhile we have also developed minimook which is a project, project sponsored by Royal Academy of Engineering, United Kingdom and Thapar University and in this, we have developed minimook sequel, and its course is available on Udemy platform and we have got a very good response from that platform. We have applied for multiple sponsorships agencies on the fake news, development of fake news analysis system. Also, we have submitted a project on smart agriculture with collaboration from Punjab agriculture university.
Question: You are researching a lot and doing a lot of projects so we would like to know about your life as a researcher as well as a professor and what impact as a researcher you want to make in students and professors life?
Answer: Truly the basic idea is to have something which is beneficial for the masses and to do the research which can have a positive impact on the life of the people. As society suffers from multiple challenges it is our responsibility to provide solutions for that problem so all research projects are in the same direction, so we have a motivation to develop a system which will be useful for someone and of course teaching is my passion and by teaching those students you’ll get the idea. Most important is to have content in a simplified manner because the student face problems so it’s very important to provide the content in an easy manner as well as it is important to make the classroom teaching interesting and enjoyable.
In the recent time, there have been many works on mooks, so people are using the content on the internet and they’re using those resources so this is very important we should come forward to provide the content to the students in this digital form through these videos and through tutorials too. To provide the content in that direction we have started our own YouTube channel where we are sharing all those lectures to all the people and we are implementing the online courses and luckily there are a lot of platforms are available for the faculty members to explore. Udemy remains a wonderful platform where anyone can upload the course, and I’m surprised to see the see that within six-seven months we are able to reach approximately five thousand students. If out of that 5 thousand if even one thousand students are able to complete course i.e., 20% success ratio that is a good number.
In the whole teaching career we normally teach two hundred students in a year and if a professor has a career of forty years then he is able to teach maximum 8 thousand students So this is the number to which we can directly impact in forty years but this will give you an opportunity to reach to that number just within one year .
So in a country like India the with around a billion people and we have diverse needs it’s very important that everyone should come forward and create the content according to local markets so I feel that this field has a lot of potential but still we are not able to explore it due to the problem of content. Content is not localized according to our students and we have multiple courses on internet from professors of Stanford, MIT, and other IIT but the actual problem is the most of the masses is unable to understand those contents. People want simplified content through which they can get a good idea, most of the students still suffer from the challenges to clear the exam so it’s very important to think about these people and try to provide the content to make an interest of the audience. Once you caught the interest then we can enroll them into advanced courses but this is very important to spark the audience, to have some basic content, to have some localized content and once we have that I believe that we would revolutionize the Indian education system.
And still, it has not happened so within a couple of years it can happen if all of us come forward to create local content because this problem can be solved only by us and we cannot expect from professors of the foreign university for content for our Indian students.
Question: You working so much for students as well as researching for projects, we would like to know which hobby of yours relate the research the most and relax your brain could be a game like a cricket or anything?
Answer: I have a hobby of writing. I used to write poems and spending time with nature gardening and all help to keep me fresh. Time spent in nature is the ideal space to think out of the box where you can focus on current activities. I feel in this age of smartphone it is really important to get away from distractions so if you get away from distractions then you can only focus on your core objectives so I always try to keep away from distractions like phone. We normally don’t charge our TV so we spend a lot of time on social media for some time scrolling all those facebook or Instagram pages so it is very important so if you spend time in a quiet space.
Also, I read a lot of motivational books. I appreciate first one hour which we spend in the morning is very important to keep our self in silence to do some meditation or some exercises that will keep energetic for the day.
Question: What long term impact or maybe a vision you have for Indian education system or Indian students or the impact you want to create?
Answer: It has huge potential and personally I feel that it is the same situation when we have a cable TV and dish TV in the early 2000s and 90s usually we had English channels and those channels fail to become popular. Ranging from Star to Discovery all created only English contents and later on, they realized the Indian context if they want to be successful, they have to customize it and now they have transcribed everything into our languages. Now, even the commentaries are available in Hindi and those commentators who were very good English commentator are forced to give commentary in Hindi due to more demand of it. So, for reaching the masses we have to understand the importance of localization when a student listens to their teacher on facebook or udemy platform, automatically, they are bright eyes compared to a different teacher from different background different culture. According to my opinion, it is important to connect to the audience. Whenever I go to village area I see that people have Smartphone and everyone is consuming the internet. India is no1 broadband consumer but if we look like the type of content most of our people are watching is like songs, etc. We are only using our phone for entertainment system but if we can make it a medium from which they can learn free of cost and can expertise or can gain knowledge automatically they will use it.
Now with technology thing spreading quickly so if someone creates content for us and is available for our students. Our students now are on par with international students reason is the internet so I want content should not be restricted to 10% of the market and when that 90 % of the market will start using that, it would be future of India.