“The educated differ from the uneducated as much as the living differ from the dead.”
Education is what that has brought us this far: from savage homo-sapiens, to civilised beings. In all the civilisations, education has been a very integral part—initiated and funded by the State—and even today most of the countries of the world follow this convention. Gurgaon, on the other hand, is a City of different paradigms – where conventions often take a serious beating.
No – you mistake my intent. Gurgaon isn’t without an education set-up. On the contrary, it has a collection of some of the most advanced Institutes in the whole of NCR; but unfortunately none of them are facilitated by the State. Gurgaon has no State University – nor is one on the horizon. Despite being a melting pot of gold for the State, Haryana doesn’t bother to think about the educational needs of Gurgaon’s children.
But...don’t be so melancholic. The State’s attitude does not/will not abstain our children from getting quality education. The City already has four Private Universities functioning – and three more are coming up in the near future. Amity, ITM, Ansal and Apeejay are the four major Private Universities already functioning in the City – with an estimated over ten thousand students between them. “This City needs to be an Education Hub, because Gurgaon hungers for professionals. The opportunity, the high demand for skilled professionals, is the main reason for the growth of Private Universities in the City – and the number will constantly swell (Thanks to the State Government, too).
Private Universities are the answer to the educational needs, because they not only provide quality education, but also build a professional who will give handsome returns to the country as well as to the society,” says Dr. Raj Singh, Vice Chancellor, Ansal University, Gurgaon.
Let’s check this out.
Why private universities?
“Private Universities are not just an answer to the non-existence of Government Universities. New Delhi, for example, has big Government Universities, but still there are many Private Universities too, because the State cannot provide quality education to all the people. And getting a quality education is everybody’s right. If we talk of Gurgaon alone, this place is a commercial-cum-industrial hub, and there is a constant demand for young and trained professionals. The Private Universities are supply chains. Be it Engineering, Insurance, Medical, Management, Telecom - every sector has mammoth demand for skilled professions. Those who don’t get admission to 'top' Institutes also have the right to be well-educated, and earn well. For example: in the on-going admission process in Delhi University, colleges like SRCC and St. Stephens are not taking students with marks below 96-97 per cent. Now that doesn’t mean that those who scored 90 or 92 percent marks are bad students. In fact, they are as good as the toppers. IITs too only take one percent of the total crowd. Tell me, don’t the rest, the huge majority, not have the right for a high quality education? So this notion that Private Universities only get students who didn’t excel in studies is a myth. Almost all our students are extremely good, and that’s why Private Universities have been a continuous source of supply of skilled professionals to the industry,” explains Dr. Singh.
Are they enough?
So, how many more universities do we need? “I believe these four universities can cater to the demand for professional courses in Gurgaon, because the success and sustainability of any Private University depends on the employability of its students. More the number of its students that get placed, the more the number of new students it will get. Amity University not only promises great education, but a promising future to both the students as well as the industry,” says Prof. (Dr.) Vikas Madhukar, Head, Admissions, Amity University, Gurgaon. Dr. Singh too speaks about it candidly, “It’s very difficult to predict how many are enough; the most important thing is whether these institutions are breeding quality professionals. This country has a need of 1,500 universities, in order to cater to the educational needs of the masses, but we have only around 650 universities. The demand for professionals is increasing by leaps and bounds,” says Dr. Singh.
Gurgaon: a perfect place for private varsities
Gurgaon’s evolution as a commercial-cum-industrial hub of Northern India, and the absence of a Government University for professional courses, only shows the lack of interest and the short- sightedness of the government. Also, by keeping Gurgaon bereft of a good quality local University, it is keeping the ‘original’ Gurgaonites away from the prosperity obtained from such an education – that is the hallmark of the migrant population living in ‘new’ Gurgaon. “Gurgaon is a perfect place to have a Private University, because it’s the only place in India—apart from Bangalore— where there is a constant and significant demand for professionals,” explains Dr. Singh.
Ansal University Amity University Haryana ITM University
What is the quality of education?
“Amity University, Gurgaon (Manesar) is a part of Amity Education Group, which has 5 Universities, 150 plus Institutions, more than 240 Programmes, and more than 95,000 students. The campus spreads across 110 acres, in the close vicinity of the largest industrial hub of NCR (having more than 2,000 national and multinational corporates within a radius of 10 km). At present, the University is offering more than 40 programmes at UG and PG level, in which more than 1,500 students are enrolled. The University will add 45 more programmes from the forthcoming academic session.
ITM is another University which has a large intake of students. “ITM is a unique institution of higher learning. With a student population of just under 3,000, it has a strong engineering and technology base, and a multi-disciplinary approach to learning and research. The University has three Schools : Schools of Engineering and Technology; and the The School of Management – which offers Bachelor in Business Administration (BBA). Apart from this, we also offer MBA and LLB courses,” says S.K Sharma, Registrar, ITM University, Gurgaon. “A high quality of education is the bedrock of success, and we here at Ansal University believe in providing the highest quality of education to our students. We believe that a single stream, no matter in which field you are, can’t make a successful professional; you must attain minimal knowledge of other corresponding streams also. As far as exposure is concerned, we have collaborations with Universities in UK, USA and Canada – where our students get admissions on a priority basis, after completing their degree from here, explains Dr. Singh.
From where do the students come?
About 50 per cent of the students are from Gurgaon and NCR area. The rest come from all across the country. There is cultural harmony in this diversity,” says Dr. Singh. “India is not the limit for Amity; here, apart from India, we have students from other nations too,” says Dr. Madhukar.
The role of Faculty
Faculty can make a huge difference. They train the professionals of the future. The Private Universities vie to have the best possible Faculty for their students. “Here at Amity, we have the best Faculty, in comparison to any Private University – and we select them after various gruelling rounds consisting of different tests. We believe that the Faculty makes the difference. The majority of the students at Private Universities are of similar calibre. An experienced and well-educated faculty is our first priority, to help impact top quality education to the students,” says Dr. Madhukar. “We have kept the best possible Faculty here, and we are paying them as per the standards of the 6th Pay Commission,” says Dr. Singh.
“As far as curriculum is concerned, in India we are normally grooming professionals who are insensitive to the rest of the spheres of life – and hence we are building machines who know of only one direction. This insensitivity towards life hampers a professional in the long run, and that’s why we prefer to have a curriculum that makes the students sensitive towards others. Our curriculum is based on the PPE (Politics, Psychology, and Economics) model, which helps in keeping an individual agile and sensitive towards the social and economical needs of the society,” says Dr. Singh. At ITM too, the curriculum makes a student live his life to the fullest, “Here, we have a large number of sports and extra-curricular activities that keep the student stress free, and always ready for knowledge absorption. We also adopt case studies, to make the students understand the different aspects of the concerned subject.” says S.K Sharma.
Are these Universities only for the rich?
People often believe that Private Universities are only for the rich – which is mainly true. But these Universities have scholarship schemes for those not well-to-do, but who have something inside them. “The bright ones cannot be stopped. The students who do well in our entrance test, and can’t afford the fee for the desired course, are offered a scholarship upto 50 per cent of the total fee – depending on the score. I haven’t heard till now that some Private University kicked out a bright student just because he or she was unable to pay the fee,” explains Dr. Singh. Like Ansals, other Universities in Gurgaon have scholarship programmes for the needy. “At Amity, we believe in rewarding the hard work and excellence achieved by meritorious students in their academic endeavours. The Amity Scholarships have been initiated to encourage the talents of such students, thereby strengthening the roots of our future generation. ITM and Apeejay too offer scholarships for the bright students. “Everybody talks about IIT and their high quality of education at a comparatively lower price. IITs, for that matter, actually give Rs. 3 lakhs of subsidy to each student, in the four years of engineering. We believe in the optimum utilisation of resources. In IIT Delhi, they have 3,000 students in an institution spread across 600 acres of prime land; whereas we here are doing the same with 15 acres of land, ” opines Dr. Singh.