Time to “Recognise Private-Universities’ Role” in putting “India on the Global Education Map” | by: Ashish Dhawan | The Economic Times

Private universities in India are often treated with suspicion for providing poor quality education and being most focused on making money. While this may be true in some cases, they are playing a significant role in fulfilling our country’s growing demand for quality higher education. 60 % of college-going students in the country today are enrolled in private institutions…

Rapidly increasing demand for higher education in India is part of a global trend with worldwide enrolment expected to rise from 100 million in 2000 to 260 million in 2025. Many countries are encouraging private institutions as a viable way to ensure that students are offered this opportunity. For example, Brazil recognized that the public sector cannot meet its youth’s demand and therefore encouraged and supported private education..

Currently, over 75% of Brazilian students go to private institutions and the largest higher education firm, Kroton, has over a million students…

Similarly, developed countries such as Japan and Korea have over 70% students enrolled in private universities, while developing countries such as Malaysia have over 50%. China invested in top private universities through Project 985 to build a few world-class universities, but is struggling to provide education for students at the base of the pyramid. Recognizing this gap, China has also enacted a Law for Facilitation of Private Education in 2002.

This led to the number of higher education institutions doubling and enrollment increasing five-fold over the past decade…

New Chapter:

The Indian higher education system consists of three tiers: elite public institutions, second-tier public and private institutions, and finally private institutions providing mass education. In most developing countries, elite institutions are publicly owned and heavily subsidized..

In India too, the government spends a significant amount per student for IITs and IIMs. Commercial private players often do not have the same motivation to incentivize education, and have therefore not pursued quality higher education actively.

However, with rapid economic growth, the private sector has reacted to the needs of our workforce and set up a large number of professional colleges, especially in engineering and management. The Indian School of Business, for example, created an innovative one-year MBA programme for students with work experience, relative to the traditional model at the IIMs. Recently, we have seen an emergence of philanthropic universities such as Azim Premji University and Shiv Nadar University that are offering quality education.

Private universities in higher education are also breaking conventional paradigms in education. Ashoka University offers a liberal education to students, allowing them to break down borders of arts and sciences, theory and practice, and take courses across to craft their own interdisciplinary major. Such institutions can serve as models for other institutions that focus on developing 21st century skills, critical thinking, communication and leadership.

These initiatives point to the emergence of a new breed of private institutions in India that can complement elite public institutions and establish international standards of excellence in Indian higher education.

While it is encouraging that the Union Budget 2014 committed resources to replicating apex institutions such as IITs, IIMs and AIIMS across the country, our government should look at the higher education system more holistically to increase the gross enrolment ratio (GER) and uplift quality..

Hard Taskmaster:

The government should move beyond being the primary service provider in education and play a catalyzing role in improving quality of higher education in India. It can do so by tightening licensing standards and improving quality assurance, without impinging on the autonomy of private institutes..

The government must invest in a regulatory architecture that can improve the standards of all institutions, public and private, dramatically. The National Assessment and Accreditation Council should be strengthened and the rating framework of institutes should shift focus from infrastructure and inputs to student learning outcomes..

Given the fiscal deficit our country faces and the need to rapidly increase higher education institutions to meet demand, our government should recognize that private institutions are a large part of the ecosystem and play a significant role in achieving a high GER…

We need the best of public and private efforts to make Indian higher education globally competitive..!!

“A cure for Health Ailments in Rural Areas”; an Innovative delivery model| by: Digbijay Mishra |Business Standard

The article discusses the story of  ” iKure “….a very interesting & Innovative Health-care delivery model, that is currently in it’s infancy…But could be the possible answer to many years of quest…of providing best of global standard, health-care services to the rural-India…similar to the one’s available to the Urban lot.

From a strategic fit & Innovation side….I find, there are certain ” Key Take-away’s within this read “…for our Healthcare Brands/companies (be it full-service Hospital chains OR niche Specialty Healthcare clinics/chains), that currently hold presence & provide services only within the urban centers of the country, but also aspire to penetrate /make their services accessable & affordable to Rural-India, aswel…which they could imbibe and integrate into their service-delivery model(s)…or further innovate on similar lines…that fits into their Brand/Service philosophy and business-operational economics…!!

– Murali Prasanna. 


” iKure “, which runs Rural Healthcare centres and makes software to record patient-data, has an innovative delivery model…

iKure runs rural health care centres in West Bengal. It also makes software that records patient data, footfalls, the treatment prescribed and the medicine inventory. iKure founder Santra admits he has always been inclined towards technology – from his first job at the National Remote Sensing Agency to working with IBM and Oracle in Bangalore.

According to the founder of a rural healthcare provider, tele-medicine isn’t suited for rural areas; also, it is capital-intensive and needs high-bandwidth lines. Doctors have to be available on a real-time basis. “So, remote answering seemed the best answer,” says Santra, who came up with the concept of STEP – the Science and Technology Entrepreneur Programme – at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Kharagpur. The programme helps record patient data such as those relating to blood pressure, blood sugar and electrocardiogram, and sends these by wireless to a specialist at a city hospital.

A cure for health ailments in rural areas | Business Standard


Health-Clubs Make ‘Green’ Choices, Save Money | Club Solutions

This week, Snap Fitness and 24 Hour Fitness announced plans to open clubs with a more environmentally friendly focus.

Snap Fitness announced that it has partnered with PRUF LED, a company based in Robinson, Texas, and plans to convert Snap Fitness clubs across the U.S. to PRUF LED’s more energy-efficient lighting sources.

According to Peter Taunton, the CEO and founder of Snap Fitness, PRUF LED lighting consumes an average of 50 percent less energy than traditional lighting, and the Snap Fitness’ already converted to PRUF have seen a savings of 30 percent off their monthly electric bills.

“ We did our due diligence in order to find the provider with the highest quality product, best customer service, and who made the most sense financially for our franchise owners,” explained Taunton. “In the end, PRUF LED led the way in all three of these categories, which made them the right choice for this initiative.”

Snap Fitness has had 100 clubs install PRUF LED lights, and according to Taunton, it’s Snap Fitness’ goal to have 500 clubs converted to PRUF lighting by the end of 2013.

Photo courtesy of 24 Hour Fitness.

24 Hour Fitness announced the grand opening of a new eco-conscious club in Walnut Creek, Calif., which opened on January 26, 2013. According to 24 Hour Fitness, the Walnut Creek club’s eco-friendly features include high-efficiency appliances and fixtures that improve air quality and conserve water and energy. In addition, the club is easily accessible by bike or bus.

“ In designing this club, we wanted to make sure that our presence in the Walnut Creek community was both environmentally responsible and aligned with the city’s efforts surrounding sustainability,” said Jim McPhail, the executive vice president and chief development officer for 24 Hour Fitness, in a press release.

The Walnut Creek club’s green focus is part of the Walnut Creek City Council’s Climate Action Plan (CAC) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

According to McPhail, more 24 Hour Fitness clubs could see eco-conscious in-corporations. “We look forward to incorporating similar, green features into new clubs we build in the future as part of our long-term strategy for reducing our company’s environmental impact,” he said.