Dr Deepak B Phatak is a teacher, and has been working with IIT Bombay since 1971. He is currently a professor in their department of Computer Science and Engineering. His main concern is to use technology for improving quality of education, at a large scale commensurate with the national aspirations. Towards this end, he has expanded the synchronous distance education, which he started at IIT Bombay 15 years ago, into an innovative program for training 10,000 teachers at a time. With other colleagues, he has tried to combine synchronous and asynchronous teaching/learning mechanisms. He has been working on MOOCs, and has introduced ‘blended or hybrid MOOCs’ for Indian students. He is now trying to extend this approach for vocational/skill training, and for school education.
He believes in developing affordable technological solutions. He set up the Affordable Solutions Lab in IIT and developed low cost devices such as Smart Card Readers, and Clickers. He headed the national initiative on Aakash tablets. He encourages entrepreneurship and had set up an IT business incubator in IIT Bombay in 1999, which has now morphed into SINE (Society for Innovation and Entrepreneurship).
As an expert in Databases and Information systems, he has been an advisor and IT consultant to several organizations and companies. He has worked on many company boards, has won several distinctions and awards, and was conferred ‘Padma Shri’ by Government of India in 2013. He received the prestigious lifetime achievement award of IIT Bombay in 2014. Dr Phatak believes that teaching cannot just be one’s profession. It must be the ‘Dharma’ of a teacher. His dream is to see a resurgent India, catching up with the world, using ICT as the spring board.