“The regulatory systems that we currently have in the education sector are focussed on input norms and there is very little focus on the process. We need to have a more balanced approach when it comes to regulation,” says Anand Sudarshan, Managing Director & CEO, Manipal Education Services
Manipal group has three universities in India: Manipal University, Sikkim Manipal University and Manipal University, Jaipur. Manipal Global Education operates institutes and Universities outside India. In Malaysia we have a University as well a Medical College, in Nepal we have a Medical College, In Dubai we have a University Campus and in Antigua, we have the American University. We are the largest education services providers in India. We thrive on the passion to see an empowered India that is transformed into an influential entity through the power of quality education.
Do we need regulation in Higher Education space?
Anyone who thinks we do not need regulation is completely wrong. We definitely need regulations, but we need good regulations. A good regulation is one that leads to the growth of the education sector in terms of science, scale, institutional excellence, and primarily in terms of benefits to the students. The students are the key focus of any educational system.
Give us your view on the regulatory system in Higher Education?
The regulatory systems that we currently have in the education sector are focussed on input norms and there is very little focus on the process. More importantly, there is almost no focus on outcomes. We need to have a more balanced approach when it comes to regulation. We need to consider the outcomes as well while enacting new regulations. Also, we have regulatory institutions that have been formed at a much earlier point of time when the education scenario in the country was quite different. During the last 20 years we have changed considerably, it is certain that in the next 10 years, we will change beyond recognition. The regulatory institutions also need to change with the time.
What is your view on foreign institutions coming to India?
I have always been supporter of the good foreign providers being allowed to come to India. I am also of the opinion that we don’t need a policing system to regulate who can be allowed to come in and who is not welcome. I think that in our country, the students are smart enough to choose the kind of institutions where they would like to get educated. Of course, there can be difficulties in some cases, but on a broad level an open market policy towards foreign investments in education will be beneficial for the country. I think the coming of foreign institutes in India will be of help in increasing the overall standards of education in the country.
What opportunities do you see of partnering with the government in education space?
There are plenty of opportunities for collaborating with the government. A vast majority of the institutions are owned by the central or state governments. Many of these state owned institutions are open to the idea of entering into partnerships with private institutes for improving their quality of education. Working closely with the government for furthering the educational goals of the country is a necessity.
How do you plan to address the issue of lack of employable skills in our students?
These are two words: Employable and Skills. For you to understand what is employable or not, the employers have to speak up and say “this is what I want.” Our industry is not doing this in a clear and precise manner. They are not informing what kind of training they want us to provide the students. Second is Skills: For a person to be productive, he needs not only the knowledge, but also the skills. The curriculum is heavily focused on the knowledge and not much on skills. This needs to be changed. The debate is currently on about the best ways of achieving this objective.
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