Pune Vidyarthi Griha, preparing students for the future - The Noel D'Cunha Sunday Column

Sunil Redekar is the director-registrar of PVG, an institution which still operates on the model of ubiquitous academic discipline that was put in place a hundred years ago. It’s also the place the Late PB Kulkarni and Late VB Likhite imbibed the PVG culture among its students.

Society, economy, technology have all changed for the better. And Redekar is shaping education in print, which he says, is now a mature industry.

In this Sunday Column, Redekar shares his PVG journey.

02 Sep 2017 | By Noel D'Cunha

PrintWeek India (PWI): How did you get into the printing media?
Sunil Redekar (SR): It is a stroke of luck. It just happened. It came to my mind that this is where my career can be. As new options in today’s world are perceived by a child, it caught my attention.

PWI: I see.
SR: I saw that my career lies here. I can also grow up as the Institution grows up.

PWI: Tell us about your career in printing. Where did you start and your journey to become Pune Vidyarthi Griha’s director?
SR: My career in Printing field has started in 1983 in PVG’s Maharashtra Mudranshala Chhapkhana. After the establishment of PVG’s College of Printing Engineering & Graphic Communication I was transferred to Engineering College in 1989 as an Instructor in the pre-press department.

PWI: When did you meet PB Kulkarni?
SR: Oh yes, what originally attracted me to a career in printing was the guidance and care Late PB Kulkarni and the late VB Likhite of our institution took of me.

PWI: When and how?
SR: You see, PVG was where I was, and I took lateral entry as a fifth standard student. I was kept in the hostel, where I developed a deep attachment both for the institution and its teachers. This led to my career path into printing.

PWI: Your favourite bit of being part of the industry?
SR: 1986-87. It was an opportunity to get into press work. This was quite challenging because computers were yet to make its entry then hence everything had to be done manually. These included hand-composing and blockmaking for letterpress and phototypesetting, preparation of artwork by cutting pasting manually.

PWI: You learnt the ropes, as they say.
SR: Yes. Slowly and steadily I made my way up in the industry. Again after the arrival of computers it wasn’t easy. As you had to learn how to operate the computer and related software for pre-press and get the work done. Getting used to the new technology is always challenging but we did well. And to be frank, I enjoyed every bit of the new technology.

PWI: Tell us about your educational background.
SR: As I have already said, my career has its roots in 1977, when I was first attached to the Pune Vidyarthi Griha with my admission in the fifth standard of Maharashtra Vidyalaya. After the tenth standard, in 1983, I took admission into the diploma course in letterpress and then there was no looking back. After completion of this course, in continuation, I completed a second diploma course in lithography. Later, I graduated with an Arts degree.

PWI: What did you learn during your education which you have been able to implement in your career?
SR: Along these educating years, I imbibed the Pune Vidyarthi Griha culture which forms a part of my career which paved my way through this long journey. I am closely linked with many milestones of our institution Pune Vidyarthi Griha and had an opportunity to work with many a towering personality. So, the discipline, the culture, helped me to achieve that finesse which I have achieved today.

PWI: What have been the challenges in running such an institute?
SR: Pune Vidyarthi Griha (PVG) has many aces up its sleeves. Being a mother of all institutions, its philosophies always have been a timely help to the societies’ needs.

PWI: Please elaborate.
SR: PVG is a well-known educational and charitable institution established on 12 May 1909 by dedicated and visionary educationalists. PVG celebrated its centenary in 2009. This institute conducts 67 different programmes and also many social activities.

PWI: You have a huge network in Maharashtra ...
SR: PVG has six branches at Pune, Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Panchvati, Mhasrul and Talegaon-Anjneri in Nashik. It has planned to expand its activities in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra. The wide spectrum of educational programmes includes pre-primary schools, primary schools, high schools, junior colleges, senior colleges, engineering colleges with graduate, post-graduate, PhD research centres and management institutes. It also runs hostels for destitute and for senior citizens. It has modern printing facilities and a publication division, which has published more thousands of titles, both technical and literary.

PWI: Please describe the technology course - and how it is geared for the world of tomorrow?
SR: Within our campuses in Pune, we keep an eye on the future technology changes. Research and development has always helped us tread a path, not chosen by many. This culture also gets deep rooted in many of our students.

PWI: How have the students benefitted ? What kind of apprentice program do you have ?
SR: For the MIPT courses, we have our own printing machines as well as an in-house apprenticeship programme. Campus recruitments takes place.

PWI: Your alumni is renowned and known to have a lot of clout? How do they engage with the Institute?
SR: PVG has produced some of the best names and personalities in the field of printing as well as other disciplines. The toPBusiness houses and government institutions in printing have always been a preferred choice for our students.

PWI: Are the alumni VIPs in tough with you?
SR: Our students have matured over the years and scaled new heights not only in India but all over the world. And yet, they are in constant touch with their “alma mater” as is reflected in the yearly alumni meet.

PWI: Is it possible to enlighten students about how to look at customers differently too? What I mean is, print firms in India invariably look for customers that fit what you do, rather than looking to see how you can fit in with your customers. Some training on that front will help.
SR: I feel that India has opened up its cultures to the world. Our students are also exposed to the opportunities and they can value what is rich and necessary for our society standards. We can nurture the idea in every student that they can grow as separate entities. A couple of trends abroad can be made to know through the availability of Internet and exposure to the latest technology is also necessary. Seminars and workshops can be arranged to get the best out of the students to keep them tuned to the latest knowhow.

PWI: What is your assessment about the growth of print in smaller towns in Maharashtra?
SR: Smaller towns in Maharashtra have certainly registered a marked growth and people from rural and semi-rural areas have shown their interests to match to their urban counterparts

PWI: Such as?
SR: Areas like Nanded, Kolhapur, Ahmednagar, Nagpur, Aurangabad and its local hubs have five to ten printing presses and people do not have to approach beyond them for their printing work. It has also generated job opportunities in the rural areas.

PWI: What about the next stage of growth? What will the new generation of graduates waiting in the wings look like?
SR: Our nation is in the race of being an advanced country. This question can’t be answered so easily. We are eyeing volume printing, quality printing in a time-bound manner.

PWI: With the advent of Internet of things (IoT) and information technology - printing media is at the doorstep of a big change. What is your forecast about this?
SR: Slowly a number of books will be transferred into digital format and will replace the note books.

PWI: Name one thing people do not know about your Institute.
SR: Many people are unaware that the government of Maharashtra runs a one year course in printing technology. The eligibility is just ninth passed. So, it is quite in tune with the thinking of PVG that the government also has stepped in to help the needy students and be resourceful to the industry.                      
The fees for this course is just Rs 7,000 but the certificate is of special importance as the students get inducted into the industry.

PWI: What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned in your career?
SR: Persistence is the hallmark of a leader.

PWI: Technology moves on in a three- to five-year cycle. Your view?
SR: Digital technology is fast catching up. Speak to write or write to speak and much more. E-learning has already made its presence felt and many students are taking help of the simplified way of learning which will show the doors for the textbook industry.

PWI: What is the next thing according to you?
SR: Speaking of future, the most dynamic areas that will use digital printing will be in the fields of packaging, cartons, rigid, flexibles, metal and corrugated and will include digital production methods. Future growth predictions for printed packaging are all good with no signs of replacements with electronic counterparts. 

PWI: offset vs digital?
SR: For the foreseeable future, offset and digital will not only co-exist, but will also complement each other- with offset taking the medium-to-longer jobs and digital performing on short-to-medium run lengths.

PWI: And in terms of productivity ...
SR: In terms of productivity and reliability digital printing is more cost effective over higher runs and can be produced quickly, thereby, reducing the turnaround time. The only industry where print demand is high worldwide is in packaging print, including printed labels. However, a long-term growth prospect for the print market is more limited. On the other hand, digital printing and variable data printing is growing ahead of market volume.

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