Providing academic and career guidance to students has given me immense pleasure over all these years

Er. Dr. Mithlesh Kumar Jha is a name that needs no introduction in the education and corporate sector. The professional life of this award-winning educator is full of achievements and excellence. A Post Graduate in Engineering Management and a Ph.D. Scholar, Jha has a treasure trove of experience in the field of education management and entrepreneurship.

Jha, who is the Chairman of the Kathmandu World School, heads four educational institutions running under CG Learning as General Manager of CG Holdings. In a conversation with the HRM, he talked about the start of his career, the challenges he faced along the way, achievements in professional life, and opportunities in the education sector, among other topics. Excerpts: 

Tell us about your first job.
I was involved in teaching as my first job. I got engaged as a faculty member in a part-time job. I used to take classes for BCA, Engineering at the College of Information Technology and Engineering (CITE) and a different level at the Don Bosco School, New Baneshwor.

How did you get into the job? 
At that time, the college was looking for a part-time teaching faculty member and I applied for the job.

How difficult or easy was it for you to get the job at that time?
It was not that difficult as qualified individuals could get sufficient opportunities in teaching jobs.

What challenges did you face after joining the job? 
At that time, the salary levels of teachers were not much lucrative. Also, students were more focused on achieving academic certificates than learning skills, were exam-oriented and do not have clarity about their career plans. Besides, in many universities, the academic calendar was not followed resulting in delays in exams. So, working as a teacher facing these problems was really challenging.

Did the sector/field of the job match your academic area? 
Yes, it did. The job sector was a perfect match for my academic area.

What lessons did you learn from the first job? How did the experiences help in shaping your career?
I developed leadership skills on the job. Handling 30-45 students in a room was a challenging task in the beginning. Similarly, a few bright students used to come up with very innovative questions which compelled me to deeply research the topics that I was teaching. This helped me to enrich my knowledge. Likewise, I also developed myself as a team player and problem solver which helped me to interact with young people and satisfy the curiosities of their creative minds.

What major achievements were there for you professionally and personally?
For me, personal satisfaction was a major achievement. Providing academic and career guidance to students has given me immense pleasure over all these years.
I think it is important for teachers to develop the knowledge of teaching without which it becomes really difficult to evolve as an academician. An academician or educational leader should have deeper knowledge about curriculum, examinations, university guidelines, faculty requirements, and ECA/CCA alongside the understanding of the mindset and mentality of the students. Engaging with students as a teacher also gives you the opportunity for plenty of exposure.

As a professional with long experience as an educator, how do you see the prospects of career development in the education sector for young graduates?
I see a lot of potential for young graduates. A lot of work and reform is required in the education sector. We need to revamp our education system and focus on the following areas:

  1. Skill set development
  2. Innovation
  3. Curriculum
  4. Leadership development

Today’s young graduates can better understand the current requirements of the job market. Similarly, they are also exposed to international challenges and opportunities. Hence, they can figure required skill set for the upcoming decades. People from the older generations would face difficulties in this respect. Young graduates are more exposed to technological advancements and use blended models (online and offline) in their professional and personal lives. This is going to add efficiency to their work areas. Similarly, the curriculum can be redesigned by integrating the job market and international demand which will help in reducing the gap between industry and academia.

What factors do they need to be mindful of to achieve success in their careers?
They need to develop the required skillset considering the market demands. Similarly, leadership skills, critical thinking and innovation should be adopted for better performance. But getting into the education sector requires patience and a feeling of service to society. Dedication, honesty and professionalism is the key factor for success.

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