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Lack of freedom on fees deters FDI in education

DC CORRESPONDENT
Published Dec 29, 2014, 7:40 am IST
Updated Mar 30, 2019, 4:12 am IST
Education sectors wants freedom to decide on fees administration, curriculum, equipment etc
Picture for representational purpose
 Picture for representational purpose

Mumbai: Several global presidents, vice-presidents, deans of elite institutions and other leaders in the education field abroad have visited India in the last five years but no one has yet submitted a report that would indicate that they would go ahead and invest in higher education in India.

Apart from the fact that the foreign investment bill in education is still pending in Parliament, nothing is being done to liberalise education, said Dr Bakul Dholakia, director general of International Management Institute (IMI) and former DG of IIM, Ahmedabad. FDI, he said, will not come unless the sector has freedom to decide on fees, administration, curriculum, equipment etc.

 

Education is a concurrent subject so state governments have a say in land issues, fees etc. These will have to be resolved if foreign investment is to come, he said.“In fact the ground is ripe for off-beat, niche management courses in subjects like infrastructure, retail trade, event management, media, health care and real estate, ” says Dr Dholakia.


Such courses exist but they have a mixed record. “It’s a chicken and egg situation. No one is willing to invest and develop the faculty and training material because there is not enough demand. These courses are new and it will take three to five years for people to realise their efficacy,” he said.

The country needs 300-500 premium institutions to meet the requirement of industry once the economy picks up and the foreign investment in education would definitely help. This is a challenge also because most MBAs only want white-collar jobs. This creates a mismatch as the demand emanates from the national, regional and local requirements.

For instance, there are 4,000 post-graduate institutions imparting management courses, but 90 per cent of the two lakh students are unemployable. The top 10 per cent IIMs deliver value so the bottom half don’t have a basis to exist. Dr Dholakia sees a massive shake out in the next three years. A large mass of them have only a semblance of a course in management, he explains.

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