Photo credit: The Financial Express
The world over, education is widely regarded as a public good. Its provision, therefore, has largely remained the realm of government institutions or private philanthropy. The notion of generating a profit from education is often looked down upon, and for several reasons. The primary criticism of for-profit institutions is that with the goal of maximizing profits, they focus on increasing enrolment, often overlooking quality learning outcomes in the process.
In India, schools and colleges by law cannot be run for profit. Nonetheless, a number of private colleges of questionable quality have over the decades enriched their “promoters” through inventive schemes such as exorbitant capitation fees charged, often informally, at the time of admission. They focus on generating a good return on investment rather than learning outcomes. It is no wonder that studies such as those published by Aspiring Minds reveal that 80% of Indian engineers are unemployable.
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