In 2012 there were projects to be delivered. But given the policy paralysis, little progress took place. Kalpana Pathak looks at what
lies ahead for the education sector in 2013
Task ahead is to see six education Bills cleared
Having taken over from where his predecessor, Kapil Sibal left, the biggest task for HRD Minister Pallam Raju is to get six education Bills passed.
The Bills — Foreign Educational Institutions (Regulation of Entry and Operation) Bill; the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (Amendment) Bill; Prohibition of Unfair Practices in Technical Educational Institutions, Medical Educational Institutions and Universities Bill; National Commission of Higher Education and Research (NCHER) Bill; Educational Tribunal
Bill and the National Academic Depository Bill, 2011 — have been waiting clearance for over two years.
Another interesting development to watch out for in 2013 will be the new Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) for entrance to the IITs.
This July, it was decided that from 2013, JEE would be held in two parts — Main and Advanced. Students applying to the IITs would have to appear for JEE-Main. Only the top 1,50,000 who qualify from these would be eligible for taking the JEE-Advanced, which would be held a few weeks after the Main exam.
Also, the IITs , might finally decide to raise the fee from the current Rs 50,000 a year to Rs 90,000, the steepest such rise so far.
MM Pallam Raju, HRD Minister
Putting in effort to plug skill gaps in Gujarat
TeamLease Services, a human resource services company, plans to set up a vocational education university in Gujarat. The university called TeamLease University (TLU), will help plug an increasing skill gap in India’s labour force and will also set up 22 community colleges across the state that will offer two-year associate degree programmes, in collaboration with employers. Each of TLU’s 22 colleges will look at enrolling 300-700 students.
TLU will offer an associate degree, rather than a diploma, which will confer credits recognised by degree programmes. Student graduating from TLU’s accounting technician course will be able to join a B Com programme in the third year, though this will apply only in Gujarat for now. TLU will use a multi-modal delivery model that will include satellite delivery (from studios in Ahmedabad, Delhi and Bangalore), classroom instruction, e-learning and on-the-job training.
Each course will be offered in partnership with employers, who will serve on the course review panel, that will meet quarterly to review the admission criteria, curriculum, assessments, faculty trainer, exams and much more. Each four-semester associate degree will offer a one-semester internship with an employer in the domain or function of their education.
Ashok Reddy, Co-founder, TeamLease Services
Key biz transformations at Educomp Solutions
Educomp Solutions introduced certain business transformation initiatives in 2012. The same will allow the company make significant transformation in the quarters ahead.
The company has taken initiatives to strengthen its balance sheet and consolidate and improve its operational efficiencies. While deciding not to further slash prices for SmartClass, the largest selling product of the company, Educomp plans to stem the downward movement in margins of its SmartClass business. Educomp’s business has a large fixed cost base, and any reduction in revenue has a marked impact on its margins.
With certain initiatives taken, Educomp's working capital management has shown improvement.
The company has undertaken consolidation and asset monetisation initiatives. So far, capex has seen a downward trend, which helped it improve its free cash flow profile, and non-billable personnel expenses have decreased by 13 per cent since the beginning of FY13. The company says, overall, its business transformation agenda is well on track, and it hopes to make significant transformation in the quarters ahead.
Sanjay Jain, Group CEO, Educomp Solutions
A new age, world-class university on agenda
Expect some action in 2013 on Reliance Industries' plans to set up an university under the Reliance Foundation. The foundation, a philanthropic initiative of the Reliance Group, plans to build a new age world-class university in India.
The university will be modelled on the lines of American universities. RIL had in 2010 said it would invest Rs 500 crore in the foundation, with plans to scale up its contribution to Rs 1,000 crore.
“The university will promote education and research in all disciplines of knowledge — from science and technology to liberal arts. It will also forge partnerships with reputed universities around the world and will be global in scale and in best practices,” Mukesh Ambani had said.
Mukesh Ambani's wife, Nita Ambani, is spearheading the initiative. Nita Ambani is also the chairperson of the Dhirubhai Ambani International School, which was set up in 2003.
The school offers a blend of nationally and internationally acclaimed programmes up to middle school, and the Indian Certificate for Secondary Education, International General Certificate of Secondary Education and International Baccalaureate diploma programmes at the higher level.
According to company sources, the university, having state-of-the-art facilities, would attract students from across the world. Sources added that the blue-print for the university is almost in place, but the group is waiting for the university Bill to be cleared.
Nita Ambani, Chairperson, Reliance Foundation