If entrepreneurs want to make profit, there are other allied services.
The finest universities in the world from Harvard to Stanford are not-for-profit institutions. The high standards of quality can be only maintained when the entrepreneur does not think of return on investment and the institute work on not-for-profit model.
Education should have a social obligation and cannot be treated as business. If entrepreneurs want to make profit, there are other allied services like content development, IT work and networking, student housing, publications and online education services. However, the core (institute) should have a social objective rather than returns, said KV Vishnu Raju, chairman, Sri Vishnu Educational Society.
“In India, only a trust, society or Section 25 company can start a higher education institute. The entrepreneur should have a long-term vision and a noble cause. The institute can be only self-sustaining in the long run after heavy investments, which may take 10-15 years. It is a mistake to expect immediate reruns. There is also misconception that institutes of higher education generating surplus revenues,” he said.
“The quality depends on the vision of the founder which should not be a business-driven model. Many colleges were being started thinking that government will reimburse the tuition fee and students will anyhow join. But recent trends proved it wrong. Many convenor quota seats in engineering colleges are vacant. Even with fee reimburse scheme, the students are not going to join unless the quality is maintained.
On government steps to improve quality, he said, “ The UGC, AICTE, NAC are taking necessary steps to maintain quality. However, there are exceptions and institutes, which are violating these norms in terms of maintaining the quality. These institutes should gear up and better themselves in their self-interest. The government is also bringing a new ordinance, wherein it is not just universities and AICTE but the government also has right to inspect these colleges. Things should be getting better with this ordinance.
“However, whatever policing the government does, with out changing the culture attitude of management. It is difficult to change the system. There is variance in the quality among the government institutes, which is often the reflection of the vision of management.”
When asked why Indian private institutes cannot be in world rankings, he said, “It is not just the quality of teaching that is counted for these rankings but also research and publications.
“An average state university in USA has a budget of $600-800 mn, which can be used for holistic growth of university. However, in India, accesses to funds is a big challenge not only for private institutes but also for government institutes.”