Friday, September 17, 2010

Ambitious and Hungry to Learn

The day I decide to quit, I’ll teach. Why? Because any opportunity I get to express my views and shape opinion gets me going.

One of the things I’d like to do is to find a way to contribute to higher education in India. If the Indian government allows it, higher education should become more private owned like it has in the US. Higher education needs a lot of private intervention which is not just money but needs blood, sweat and tears in running and shaping it. It requires funding and resources, which are limited in India.

In countries like the US and UK, where Indians have migrated to in large numbers, teaching is one of the biggest professions in the Indian community. Mainly because it doesn’t require capital to be successful – it only needs the ability to learn and to teach. And knowing the English language as well as Indians do is a huge benefit.

The Dean of Harvard Business School, University of Chicago, UC Berkley and some other prominent institutes are all Indians. These are people from my generation. There is a clear demand and need. We have the capability but it’s abroad. We will need to create the ecosystem to match supply and demand. Most universities globally will need to find a way to participate in the Indian economy (through academia) but don't know how. Universities don't tend to have a Business Development or an M&A team whose job it is to grow hunt and mine. The philosophy and growth of the school largely depends on the faculty and the direction it takes.

So I’m thinking about how and where to start. I’ve already started talking to people who have similar thoughts and we may actually come together and do something.

The power of that effort has to be to get global thinking around teaching and learning into the country. The assumption is that we're a billion people - bright and talented, ambitious and hungry to learn. Even a small proportion of this population is a huge number. The problem is that there is a lack of expert quality academic professionals who know how to teach and impart knowledge and go down the journey of learning.