A few days back, I scribbled about Social Entrepreneurs which is a vast topic.....world over today.
Today, I want to share thoughts about Edupreneurs. Immediately two or more names that come to my mind. These are Satya Sai Baba, besides all his (controversial) religious and philosophical activities, ventured to set up a Private University in Puttaparthi (Andhra Pradesh, India). We may also call him a Social Entrepreneur. He had studied up to seventh standard in a small rural village but went on religious cum developmental mode. There is a Hospital, Airport, Cricket Stadium, Drinking Water Project, Railway Station (all with modern facilities) and of course this University of Higher Learning. Better stop discussing controversies please.
Another is Matha Amritananda Mayi in Kerala who is a fisherwoman by background, studied up to only third standard and preaches universal peace, travels all over the world and spreads .... 'love all' concept by a hug. It is equally amazing to know that she went on setting up Medical Colleges, Engineering Colleges, Management Institutes in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka (all in South India with modern facilities). Yet another story of self-less contribution to human kind by spreading education (which I deem as an activity of Infrastructural development and Investment for long term prosperity of society).
I can go on and on, of course. Decades before this private initiative of "affordable education" was started by Dr T M A Pai of Manipal, India (fighting against the Goverment in Supreme Court too) for setting up Manipal University (formerly Manipal Aacademy of Higher Education - MAHE) beginning with a Degree College (MGM celebrated its Diamond Jubilee this March), a Medical College (and Kasturba Hospital), an Engineering College, Pharmacy College, Management Institutes, Communication Institute and so on. Academy of General Education and Dr TMA Pai Foundation oversee a vast number of Schools, Colleges, Polytechnics and ITIs. Besides imparting education, all these institutions encourage the local population to look for entering to or generate employment. He was also one of the co-founders of Syndicate Bank (three more nationalised banks viz., Vijaya Bank, Corporation Bank and Canara Bank originated from the Dakshina Kannada Dist in Karnataka). Qudos! Eradicate povery, hunger, illiteracy, theft, begging and anarchy by spreading "education to all". These institutions are supplimenting the efforts of Governments.
We are currently witnessing the controversy of Azim Premji and Alliance Private Universities being discussed in the Karnataka Assembly. How unfortunate that our Policy Makers violate all standard norms in enacting such bills and declare their ignorance to the public. Higher Education being handled concurrently by Central and State Governments is hitting the headlines every day. Centre is opening its eyes to de-recognise 44 such Private Universities (some times referred as Deemed and nicknamed by press as Doomed too) including seven from Karnataka. And then, State Government demonstrates its power to counter such decisions. Centre is working seriously to invite Foreign Universities and set up a National Commission for Higher Education and Research because UGC and AICTE have outlived their utility. National Knowledge Commission (headed by Mr Sam Pitroda) and Prof Yash Pal (former Chairman-UGC and famous Space Scientist) Committee on Higher Education gave their strong views on the current state of Higher Education.
Education can not be a commercial commodity to be sold. Posterity will not tolerate any destructive and mean approach to make education being made available by spending money. Every student has to undergo serious training in his or her formative years in their line of interest and excel. There are no short-cuts. I wish that good sense will prevail among all our Elders and they will move forward with constructive ideas.