We have had a great regional presence. We now want international visibility

Written by Jyotsna Bhatnagar | Updated: Dec 30 2013, 15:57pm hrs
The Gujarat Law Society (GLS) has become synonymous with quality contemporary education in Gujarat. A premier educational group, offering courses in multiple disciplines, GLS boasts of state-of-the-art infrastructure which houses 30 institutes in various spheres. Over 30,000 students are assisted in meticulously crafting their careers. Established 84 years ago in 1929 when a few visionaries stepped forward to transform the standards of education in the region, the institute derived its inspiration from and was founded by such luminaries as the legendary Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Sheth Kasturbhai Lalbhai and Ganesh Mavlankar.

Currently spearheaded by Sudhir Indravadan Nanavati, among the most renowned legal luminaries of the state, GLS has, over the years, evolved from a single law college to myriad institutions ranging from preparatory schools to graduate and post-graduate colleges in diverse areas such as arts, commerce, law, management and computer applications. In a free-wheeling interview with FEs Jyotsna Bhatnagar, GLS executive vice-president Nanavati discusses the reasons that make GLS the formidable education brand it is today. Excerpts:

GLS is a formidable brand in education in Gujarat today. What has been your success mantra

We have always strived to have a progressive culture, embarking on changes wholeheartedly. We have solid institution building principles. Further, for any educational set-up to succeed, it is important to invest in appropriate human resources. It is the right blend of experience and youth in the team of GLS that has contributed to its success.

Quality management with respect to academic practises and processes has remained standard at GLS. Our management institute, the NR Institute of Business Management, has come up a long way from being a regional B-school to currently one of the best private B-schools in Gujarat. We are working towards ISO certifications and NAAC accreditations for all our institutes. We also have a strong focus on the state-of-the-art infrastructure. All our academic processes are more or less automated. In a nutshell, the success mantra of GLS has been investment in right people, quality of academics and advanced infrastructural facilities. Our success reflects in over 1 million alumni who comprise noted judges, attorneys, industry professionals and lead entrepreneurs.

How is GLS being able to straddle the entire education spectrum from kindergarten and schools right up to colleges and professional courses

We believe in holistic educational initiatives. That in order to steer any venture to success, able leadership is of utmost important. We value diversity and also believe that a veteran organisation like ours should provide quality education in all disciplines and at all levels. Our current focus is to develop quality professional and technical education programmes and we are building solid competence in these areas.

Academic institutions are taking myriad steps to make their courses more relevant to the times and more job-oriented. What steps has GLS been taking

You are right. The education sector is witnessing major changes. There are questions on the integrity and relevance of the system per se. We are taking several steps to make our courses globally relevant. Wherever possible, we design and update our curriculum in consultation with industry. For instance, while shaping our PGDM programme, we introduced new subjects like Digital and Social Media Management, Intellectual Property Right Management, Leisure and Sports Marketing, etc. We have initiated innovative pedagogies such as global immersion, rural immersion and new venture creation and simulation exercises partnered with universities in the UK, Australia and New Zealand.

We are also initiating steps to work closely with industry. We have been doing panel discussions with top corporate representatives brainstorming on their expectations from our students. We have several lectures from industry leaders under different formats. We are working closely with industry by organising conferences and forums.

Which are your best courses

Most of the courses of GLS in the area of management and technical education are popular. PGDM and MBA programmes offered by NR Institute of Business Management are also sought after. Our UG commerce, arts and business administration courses are also popular. One of our institutes, the SM Patel Institute of Commerce, has been rated among top 50 commerce colleges in the country. Our BCA and MCA programmes are rated as finest in Gujarat.

What steps are you taking to expand the GLS footprint

GLS has always had a great regional presence. We would want to have national and international visibility. We are taking steps in two directions. First, we are trying to make our faculty internationally-relevant and accepted by encouraging them to undertake joint research with their foreign counterparts in the global universities where we have tie-ups. Several research projects are in different phases of completion. Our faculty has also started visiting foreign universities. We have initiated faculty and student exchange in countries such as the UK, Canada, Singapore and New Zealand.

Second, we are also planning to experiment with new short-term courses in the area of new venture creation, training programmes and faculty development programmes. We are moving towards new formats of education along with the existing established ones and are using technology extensively for this. We are collaborating with virtual platform providers to ensure that our education delivery is not necessarily face to face. At school level, we have smart class technology. These are exciting times for GLS, and we believe we are on a strategic inflexion point, from where exponential growth is foreseen.