An entrepreneur who is successfully running multiple institutions

An entrepreneur who is successfully running multiple institutions

SME Inspirations

GlobalLinker Staff

GlobalLinker Staff

409 week ago — 10 min read

The very famous and yet very humble Bill Gates says, “As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.” A great leader not only works for his organisation but for the larger good of the society. Swastik Sirsikar, who is at the apex of multiple institutions, is a living example of such a leader. He works tirelessly not only to improve the quality of education, but also contributes selflessly for the recreational improvements and community development for the city of Pune.

Swastik is the esteemed trustee of the famous PICT College. This college is ranked as the best private engineering college in Pune and is amongst the top 10 in the country. The graduates from this college have set a benchmark in the industry as they are among the best technocrats with excellent practical knowledge. Swastik is also the founder of the PICT Model School, which has combined the CBSE curriculum with the IB progranmme in a novel and innovative way, such that the focus is on the holistic development of students. The social man that he is, he also heads the Rotary Club and the famous Poona Club. As a staunch believer in community development, his focus is always on enriching and improving the lives of people in the community. And he admits candidly that these multifaceted commitments are what bring him joy and peace.

In conversation with GlobalLinker (GL), Swastik Siriskar (SS) talks about his passion for each of these organisations and his commitment to take them to greater heights. Watch this video to learn more about this inspiring entrepreneur.

 

GL: Tell us about the PICT College & School and your journey in establishing these institutions.

SS: I’m a Civil Engineer by qualification and have done my Masters in Business Administration. Back then, about 35 years ago the combination of Civil Engineering and MBA was quite radical.

In the past three decades, as a contractor and Civil Engineer, I came across many people with various educational qualifications. It always made me wonder about the disparity of what is taught in the schools and what is practiced in the field. It was almost as if that the education systems had very little to do with reality. An awakening or, in other words a revolution was needed in the field of education, which would make it more aware of the reality, like hands on experience for students in professional studies.

Few friends of mine felt the same and they too wanted to do something about it. The years 1982-83 were quite remarkable one, India hosted the Asian Games, colour television started being imported and also computer forayed into the country.

Amidst all these excitements, my friends, Dr Ram Krishna and Mr R.S. Kothavale started an engineering college in the year 1982. It was called Pune Institute of Computer Technology (PICT), which aimed to provide formal training in computer education. They were the pioneers of computer education in India. They designed a curriculum for computer education, and that curriculum today is affiliated with the Pune University. Currently, I am the trustee and secretary of the organisation and both Kothavale and I look after the daily activities of the engineering college as well as the school.

Initially, the students that joined the college were good essentially, but lacked in strong fundamentals. Inspite of our students having no problem in job placements, we wanted them to be better. Thus, the idea of opening a school stemmed from the realisation that only backward integration can help us achieve the base of strong fundamentals.

This year we opened the PICT Model School and adopted a new curriculum called CBSE-I. It comprises of CBSE and IB curriculum, so the child has a choice to take CBSE or IB. The advantage of this institution is that, students can earn credits, which is the recognised evaluation grading system in international institutions. Thus it is easier for them to apply to other schools and colleges abroad and as well as in India.

Another salient feature of PICT school is its location. It is situated near Hinjawadi, which is the biggest IT Park of Pune. With a population of about 3 lakh working professionals, a good school such as ours offering good quality education of IB level encourages them to bring their families to Hinjawadi. Thus ensuring a happy family life and also community development. 

GL:  What are some of the challenges you have faced in establishing & running PICT?

SS: Well, in current times, there are quite a few good educational institutes around us so competition is tough but also healthy. It encourages us to do better. Secondly, our school is equipped with high standards of education, thus the fees are higher than other neighbouring schools. To ease out for both the parents and us, seeking government permissions and convincing the local community continues to be a challenge. And finally sourcing of well-qualified faculty members is a daunting task.

GL: Tell us how PICT has made an impact.

SS: We have a legacy of being pioneer in the field. Like the computer education itself, we heralded a new type of top-notch school with good infrastructure and innovative curriculum,  that raises the standards of education to an international level.

I’m always excited and inspired to start something new and noble which benefits the larger community. In the last 30 years, we have not multiplied in number of institutes, but rather our focus has been on establishing quality education and creating good technocrats who can really do wonders in their chosen field and make difference in the larger context.

PICT prides itself in providing quality education with practical experience. The proof of our success is that the college is ranked as number 1 in Pune and number 8 in whole of India amongst the private engineering colleges.

The success comes only because of our hard work and holistic approach of teaching.

PICT Model School is a unique concept school, which focuses solely on all-rounded development of the child along with liberal education. There is no homework and no carrying school bag policy.

Nowadays in Pune, mostly both the parents are working in the IT industry. This leaves them with very little or no time for any other thing. Both parents and children long for quality time together.

We have extra additional hours at school, which the students spend in the school itself. During this time, they can complete their homework or pursue extra co-curricular activities like sports or any other hobbies. Thus at home they have plenty of time to spend with their parents. And also the parents do not have to fret whether the child has done homework, what project has to be submitted etc., but direct their energy in spending quality time with family.

GL: What is your dream to grow & expand PICT?

SS: Our vision is to create at least 4 such schools in the city and eventually establish a deemed autonomous university.


GL: What are some of the other institutions you are associated with?

SS: Besides PICT, I am associated with two other institutions.

One is Rotary International, which is quite a well-known organisation. And the other is the prestigious Poona Club. The Britishers founded the latter in 1885, and even after 130 years it is still fully functional. I’m a member of this premiere club for the last 25 years.The club has about 6000 members, from various social and professional backgrounds. It is a great platform for various activities and networking, more so in these times, when social bonds are difficult to make and maintain.

I started climbing the ladder of the organising committee of the club about 8 years ago and I was director for two years and then I became the vice president and now I’m the president of the club. My main objective is to keep the harmony amongst the club members and provide the best facilities.

Poona Club is not just a sports club, it has evolved over the years. Now it is a service club too.The club is like the second home to its members. Families prefer clubs to malls because of its congenial atmosphere and ambiance. As an option for dining, it’s the most economical and reasonable choice compared to any other establishment. Poona Club can also boast about the fact that it is the only club in the country with all the sports facilities including golf, squash, cricket and table tennis.

Poona Club offers corporate membership as well, which brings in a lot of IT executives from the city as well as from the world that visit the city. Poona Club is the ideal place for corporates to bring their guests as it exudes the old world charm and has impeccable modern amenities.

GL: What according to you is the role that GlobalLinker can play in connecting and encouraging SMEs.

SS: We believe that GlobalLinker can help us in creating awareness in the community about our unique school.

GL: What is your advice to aspiring entrepreneurs?

SS: There is no shortcut to hard work. Integrity with ethical practices and good morals are the key to success.

 

Disclaimer: This article is based solely on the inputs shared by the featured member. GlobalLinker does not necessarily endorse the views, opinions & facts stated by the member.

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