Formal systems in place made shift from classroom to online teaching seamless, says CEPT University president

STRUCTURED SYSTEMS in place at the CEPT University since the past few years helped students to seamlessly transition from classroom to online teaching during the pandemic, the institute’s president Bimal Patel said.

Patel, the architect of the Central Vista redevelopment project in New Delhi, was addressing the 15th convocation ceremony Saturday. A total of 532 students from the academic year 2019-20 graduated and were conferred degrees virtually on the occasion.

Making a case against “romanticising our informal ways of functioning” where roles and functions may not be specified and written down, Patel said, “There may be merits to such an approach in certain low-stress and stable organisations. However, in environments where there is greater uncertainty, it is important that different people in the organisation know their roles clearly and are able to take actions accordingly.”

The Ahmedabad-based architect said CEPT University was among the very few institutions in the country that could complete their teaching session with only one week’s delay.

“In March 2020, when the Covid-19 pandemic struck, schools and universities were the first places to be affected. All of a sudden all face-to-face teaching came to an abrupt stop. After taking one week transition time, we resumed classes with online teaching. We were able to complete our entire monsoon semester online, exactly as per our published academic calendar,” Patel said.

Calling it no mean achievement, he said, the task was possible because “over the last few years, we (CEPT University) have made significant efforts to put in place formal systems of various kinds. For example, a system of tracking new tutors to teach Studios, a process for external feedback for the works students produce, etc”.

Patel also heads the Ahmedabad-based architectural firm HCP Design, Planning and Management Pvt Ltd.

The chief guest at the event was Shashi Verma, the director of customer experience and chief technology officer at Transport for London — responsible for London’s road routes, rail networks, trams, buses, and taxis. Advising students to focus on urbanisation, Verma said, “As you embark on your career, I’ll give you one piece of advice — if you focus on urbanisation in your career, you will never be out of a job. This is an issue that will remain important throughout… Don’t forget the values of urbanisation because there is no other trick available to create the economic benefits that India and other developing countries need.”

Both Patel and Verma are currently a part of a group which is advising the Punjab government on urban development.

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