Professor (Dr.) Poonam Rawat is Head, Law College Dehradun, Faculty of Uttaranchal University. She has over 25 years of experience in teaching law. Dr. Rawat has many research papers to her credit which have been published in leading journals. She was also previously the Associate Editor of ‘Dehradun Law Review- A Journal of Law College Dehradun’.
In this edited interview to Bar and Bench, Dr. Rawat talks about what encouraged her to take an interest in law, the positive innovative law teaching methods that COVID-19 has introduced, and what students should do to cope with the adversities introduced by the global pandemic.
What encouraged you to take up teaching law as your profession?
Initially I was encouraged to take up law teaching as my profession as I was drawn towards the high ideals of honour and integrity that the subject of law taught. I also saw law, as a means by which justice can be delivered and an avenue through which I could understand my responsibilities and duties as an Indian citizen better. Later however, I realized that the study of law could also help bring about much needed positive changes in our society and with a vision to bring about progressive societal changes and thereby make a difference, I opted for law teaching as my profession.
You have been in the teaching profession for almost thirty years now. What according to you has been the ‘one thing’ that has dynamically changed in the teaching fraternity?
In the last 30 years, the one thing I would say that has dynamically changed in the teaching fraternity, is the ease with which information is now easily available to all teachers and students. Knowledge now is only just a click away. This is definitely a very positive change and can really help both students and teachers gain seamless access to all kinds of information and in this way facilitate enriching knowledge of both teachers and students.
What do you think would be the silver lining in the changed teaching mode, that has been introduced because of the pandemic?
I would say that online teaching even sans the personal touch is a boon. This is so, because even though online teaching required an overhauling of the traditional manner in which we earlier imparted knowledge to students, it helped deliver classes in a seamless and continuous manner during the pandemic. Had this pandemic occurred even 10 years ago, I am unsure if we could have successfully held classes among such large sections of the student body, as we did during the pandemic using online teaching methods.
How do you see the future of law students in the light of the major setback caused by the pandemic on the academia and the potential careers of many law students?
I believe even in the middle of the pandemic, a career in law will still provide students with many opportunities, as law is almost as constant to the society as much as the sun and the moon are to this world. As judicial institutions are still functioning and trying to deliver justice via online platforms even in the middle of the pandemic, I believe a career in law is still secure and insulated from the adversities posed by the pandemic on other types of careers. Also, I genuinely believe that every setback opens up new opportunities and every dark cloud has a silver lining. While, the pandemic has caused havoc it has also provided us with an opportunity to take a short break and polish our knowledge from the comforts of our home.
This interview was conducted by Campus Ambassador, Aditi Bansal.