A meritorious student, he had lost his parents quite early in childhood. Braving all odds, he had secured the third position with first class in Physics from Sambalpur University. After post-graduation, he garnered success with his research on nuclear physics with BARC. To do something for society and to give poor students access to quality Science education, he founded a unique private residential institute – Newton College of +2 Science in Sambalpur. A renowned educationist and a true edupreneur, Dr Tejaraj Patra in his conversation with Orissa POST says it is still not easy for him to grasp the fact that the same student is now taking the responsibility of hundreds of students, not only as a teacher but also as their guardian

How has been the journey of Newton College of +2 Science so far?

During my ISc/ (intermediate), I used to spend my time giving private tuitions along with my studies. I developed a knack for teaching while passing class after class. After long 30 years of teaching experience and fuelled by the drive to teach, then came the inception of a different kind of institution. Since the establishment of Newton College in 2007, the institute has nurtured a number of meritorious and bright students. As the founder of the college, I take pride in the role it has played in moulding those minds.


What is your take on the National Education Policy (NEP)?

The NEP has touched upon all aspects of education. We hope that it will bring about a shift in tomorrow’s education sector making it qualitatively superior. We expect that the policy’s implementation will be a welcome step across levels. As an educationist, I welcome the NEP and take its new ways of imparting education as a challenge.


How do you see your opponents in this competitive field?

Competition and competitors are omnipresent. But it is the institute’s responsibility to face the competitors. We never count anybody as opponent. Rather, it has been our policy to do things differently, and work hard to bring laurels to the institute keeping faith in God and our efforts.


What contrast do you see between the online and offline modes of education?

The medium doesn’t matter as long as the quality of education is optimum. But, the increased distance between the teacher and students does have its cons. Although the same topics are taught in both mediums, physical presence in classroom is more effective as it comes with the educator’s direct supervision. It also makes the student disciplined, which doesn’t happen online.


What do you think is the reason behind the growing interest of students and guardians in +2 college education?

Post-secondary schooling, the +2 performance of a student carries a lot of importance in the long run. Even the guardians who have high hopes for their kids put much stress on +2 education. In contrast with government colleges, private colleges put in double the time and effort for students, all in a specific area. Similarly, our teachers stay in constant touch with students for 18-20 hours a day doing extra classes. This definitely helps improve the performances to a great extent bringing name and fame to the institute and the guardians.


What do you do in your leisure?

We carry with us the great responsibility of the student’s future and the hopes and expectations of the parents. So, its normal that most of my time is spent teaching at the institute. We have to play the twin roles of a teacher and a guardian for the students at the residential college. So leisure is a luxury. Still, whenever I get a little time, I spend it with books, learning and researching pedagogy and the current education system.

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