Everyone in Kerala was forced to believe for a quite long time that it is the responsibility of the Government to run education institutions of excellence. This was happening while private aided schools were serving the majority of population for many decades. At last, the Government took a decision to open up higher education to private players.
Here, I am not going into the merits of the stated policies of the then Government on this regard. I want to explore the remedial measures to fix the problems that the higher education sector in Kerala faces today.
One of the core issues that had plagued Kerala's higher education these days is that it has failed in achieving the desired results in terms of quality and content. If we look at the kind of institutional management mechanisms that many of these colleges have, it is obvious that its high time for improvement. To many of these managements its more of a highly rewarding investment than 'knowledge disseminating centers of excellence'. Majority of the managements do not have any clue about the standards and values of the education system and the quality to be imparted. As a service provider, I don't expect everyone investing in a market to have the necessary knowledge and necessary skill sets to guide and win the game. That is the difference between an investor and entrepreneur.
Unfortunately, in Kerala, no one (among the College Managements) meets any of these two criteria as the definition and attributes attached to the legal framework do not permit one to enjoy these roles. S/He is neither an entrepreneur nor an investor.
Almost all of the colleges are formed as a non-profit trust and that does not command bringing more investments or expertise to the operations.
If the owner of the college is purely an investor, he will make sure that in the best market conditions, he has to reap the profit. In education sector, ultimately it is the results of the outgoing batches that matters a lot. In addition, how many are placed in reputed companies or what is the rating given by these reputed companies to the students and the college management also counts. I don't think any one can bribe Infosys or TCS to give them higher rating in terms of the quality and skill sets of the students they recruit. Since the legal framework does not allow the investor to do that, he usurps the role of the entrepreneur also in mean time. An entrepreneur is a market savvy knowledgeable person trying to trade off the risks with the futuristic market forces. Under the current conditions in Kerala its very difficult for finding such a person. Since he is not knowledgeable and he is there only to make money, he can only aspire but cannot succeed in the process of imparting higher education. So what is the end result?
I do find five possible solutions;