Lawctopus has launched a series of interviews called #DeanSpeak to collect see what the leaders of law schools in India think about legal education in India.
Our CLO Neha Singh interviewed Dr. Parantap Kumar Das who is currently Heading the Department School of Law and Legal Affairs, Noida International University.
Please introduce yourself and tell us about your professional journey till now.
My name is Dr. Parantap Kumar Das and I did my Graduation and Post Graduation from Banaras Hindu University. Thereafter, I did my Ph.D. from Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University New Delhi. I have also cleared UGC NET.
At present, I am the Head of Department School of Law and Legal Affairs, Noida International University.
Before that I was associated with the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), National Institute of Social Defense (NISD), Commonwealth Human Right Initiative (CHRI).
What motivated you to become a law faculty? What are the biggest pros and cons of this profession?
Law is a dynamic discipline. I have realised that career in Law allowed me to constantly learn and grow. If you want a career that allows lifelong learning, Law is a good one.
As a Law faculty, this profession has always been exploring for me. The development in the legal field always motivated me to explore the new height in this career.
Teaching students and engaging their interest in your subject is highly rewarding. It allows one to shape and inspire the next generation of academics. The profession of Law requires a wide range of skill and unexpected challenges. The strength was in analyzing problems and advising others.
Law as a profession provides enough knowledge and skill to counsel those who need assistance not only in terms of legal problems but also rational ones.
For example, it gives me immense satisfaction that as a faculty I could help my budding lawyers to shape their future and help them solve their problems.
A lot of times students face peer pressure and other issues in college life, counselling is must tool that has to be used by every teacher. It is an important skill we as lawyers have already derived from law background as we are specialist in listening and arguing on the matter in the question.
The biggest pros of joining academia world is that you are always learning and understanding new concepts relating to your specialization. As far as cons are concerned, I feel that sometimes few faculties often feel overburdened with hectic schedules of classes but that is a nominal cost for a productive career ahead.
How did you enter the law school administration? What are the biggest pros and cons of this?
Before entering into Law school administration I was associated with different Quasi-Judicial bodies e.g. NCPCR, CARA, and NISD, etc.
After that, I decided to impart my knowledge and skill to young budding lawyers so that they become an asset in the society and subsequently value addition in the legal profession.
My expertise in my previous organizations helped me to enhance the quality of education that is provided in the institution. For example, I value practical education more than those shared in classrooms. I often try to inculcate the idea of having sound and thorough knowledge of law in my students.
To achieve the same, I along with my other faculties members focus on organizing visits legal aid camps as well as visits to Higher Courts, Judicial Custody etc.
What is your vision for Noida International University?
We strive to provide students with a well-rounded legal education. Our curriculum is designed to teach students about the Law and to help them develop the skills necessary to use that knowledge in practice.
Our goal is for our graduate to possess the core competencies essential to embark on the practice of Law.
The University envisions being a catalyst in augmenting holistic development and believes that every child is potentially the beacon of divine light and has the capacity to transform society and uplift mankind.
The mission of is to provide a platform for the ideal integration of intellect, values, and talents through education and develop each child to his optimum potential to enable him to make path-breaking changes in the social fabric of the world.
The lack of good faculty members seems to be a perennial problem. What solutions/ideas would you propose to solve this?
We want to focus on the teacher’s perspective because we want them to participate in the change from teaching to learning. For this, it seems to me to appropriate to address them with regard to their worries and needs, their problems and finding their own teaching style.
Teaching is an art that gets better with experience and knowledge. We focus on motivating our faculty members to inculcate research skills in them so that they can grow in their profession.
We believe that if academicians want to survive in the tough competitions they regularly need to update their knowledge in their respective field. Publishing papers is one such tool that helps them to keep writing useful thoughts on a piece of paper that would enlighten them as well as the academic fraternity.
Further, we can also inculcate a good skill by providing teacher training programs and soft development skills programs and also orientation or refresher course for the development of effective research skills.
In terms of the subjects being taught to law students and the pedagogy being used, what changes would you propose?
In terms of subjects which is being taught to the students, I would like to suggest the introduction of new contemporary subjects with an interdisciplinary approach and also the introduction of comparative study in global legal education.
Moreover teaching pedagogy should lean towards the practical training apart from classroom studies.
Practical knowledge is more important than books. I believe that students of law should possess skills such as the ability to be articulate and observant and have an attitude to interact with people in order to make good lawyers.
It is important for law syllabus to include one foreign language and undertake one behavioural science course. This would enhance the quality of education and will expose law students to a new area of knowledge.
We want our students to be pervasive and should be able to work in courts, in law firms, UN agencies, international organizations and in the corporate world.
What are the biggest challenges you face on the administrative side of things? How do you resolve them?
In NIU, we are very fortunate that our Hon’ble Chairman, Pro. Chancellor, Vice Chancellor, Registrar always help us in different areas of administration.
Here we follow the policy of decentralization and diversification and because of that, we overcome the bottleneck of administration through traditional and innovative methods.
What are your thoughts about the use of technology in classrooms and online/distance learning courses?
1. Use of technology always provides a free flow of knowledge in a user-friendly manner. Using PPT and online classroom lectures always keep the students updated with the current legal developments on a frequent basis with less human efforts and with larger dissemination at a time.
2. Online distance learning/distance courses are very beneficial for those students who are working professionals because it will enhance their skill which will help them in professional growth.
3. The use of computer-based instructions makes students feel in control of what they learn. Students find it easy to learn with technology because computers are patient compared to humans.
Teachers publish educational instructions on classroom blogs or they assign research work via email, and this gives a student time to study on their own and have no fear of making mistakes during the process of learning.
4. The use of computers in the classroom has helped many students learn how to write well-composed sentences and paragraphs.
Computers have word processing applications which students use to take notes in the classroom, these word processing applications have built-in dictionaries which help students auto-correct spelling errors and also correct their grammar in a sentence.
5. The use of advanced communication technologies in education helps teachers reach their students easily and it also helps students reach their teachers or fellow students in real-time.
Teachers can use mobile texting applications to text students about an upcoming test or to assign them research topics.
6. As the world develops, every job in the future will require applicants to have some technical skills. So the use of technology in education prepares our children for tomorrows advanced working conditions.
Students use computers in the classroom to develop creative applications which can be used on cell phones or tablets for educational purposes. The advantages of knowing how to use a computer are limitless, so the more time a students spends using various technological tools at school, the more experienced and creative they become.
Please share your thoughts on campus placements not being up to the mark in law colleges as compared to business schools in the country.
Law is an independent profession in which students usually go for independent practice after doing their rigorous internships with different renowned legal luminaries.
Apart from that many Law firms, NGO’s, corporate legal houses are coming to the campus to give opportunities to the young budding lawyers and for this, we have a dedicated Placement Cell.
Any parting words of advice for young law students and teachers.
If you work hard, read a book a week, get a mentor, leave your comfort zone, stand up after every failure and improve, it will eventually lead you to a different life.
Learning is a continuous process. Graduation ends one chapter of life but opens up a fresh new beginning. Go out and explore yourself. Don’t limit yourself or be a conformist.
Be your own true self and demand the best from yourself. Don’t be a person who seeks change, be the change. Make a difference, leave your mark.
In #DeanSpeak we are taking interviews of leaders of legal education in India. If you are a dean/HoD/VC of a law school or can introduce us to someone, please do get in touch with Aditya at [email protected]