Inspired by his father Sardar Jodh Singh and driven by the will to succeed, Singh established Asansol Engineering College in 1998, after which there was no looking back. Today, JIS Group Educational Initiatives is the most accepted and reputed name in the education industry; ranking no 1 in the eastern region with numerous awards and accolades to its name.
Excerpts from the interview:
Who all have been the influencing factors in your growth story?
My parents, especially my father – Sardar Jodh Singh, Chairman of JIS Group – have been the influencing factor in my growth story. It is through his entrepreneurial zeal, persistence, hard work and faith in god that JIS Group was born 66 years back and has flourished since then. His perseverance and hard work encouraged me to move ahead continually.
I also want to acknowledge the contributions made by my partners, colleagues and employees in my success story.
You have been running one of the top private institutions in India. How did the idea come about?
My father had a dream to provide quality education and employment to the youth of the nation. I took it upon myself to fulfil his dream and this is how the seed of building a private institution passed my mind.
Back in the late 80’s and the early 90’s, there were finger–counted colleges in West Bengal that taught professional courses. This lack of the presence of an ample number of professional institutions led to a demand–supply gap. In fact, those days, every year young minds from the state migrated to other states for higher studies and they were employed there in senior designations with hefty salaries. Keeping this scenario in mind, looking at the success of prior set–up private universities in the nation such as Jadavpur University, XLRI and also understanding the need, fifteen years back, the decision of privatising professional institutions of the state was an important step taken for providing quality higher education in Bengal. It is at that time in 1998, I felt that it was an apt time to commence an institution that would provide world–class education coupled with an education–friendly environment.
How do you tackle competition?
Personally, I don’t believe in competition. I only believe that sustained quality enhancement is the key to growth and that our students and employees are of utmost priority to me. If you talk in terms of the market share, we have a strong marketing and branding team who conduct proper market research, understand the competitor information flow and explore the same. They then determine on the product enhancement, promotion, place as well as quality modalities. After that, they observe the competitor’s USP and how we may improve ourselves.
What is it that separates JIS from other universities?
JIS University is a very young university that became operational since last two years and we have a long way to go. However, on the other hand, JIS University is backed by the trust that consumers have in the largest education provider of eastern India – JIS Group Educational Initiatives.
What separates JIS University from other universities is that we at JIS University, aim to contribute to the growth of higher education, research, entrepreneurship and skill development to blend traditional methods with modern technology enabled Teaching Learning practices and research & development. We, as a university also nurture future professionals who would have their commitments to be the harbingers of transformation in our society. To do this, we offer to our students a technology based teaching environment through implementation of Learning Management Systems (LMS). We also offer foreign language classes and our students are also exposed to international student internships through various student exchange programs with foreign universities. We are trying to build a smart campus leveraging technology parallel to pedagogy.
What should be done so that more people get access to education?
Firstly, the education system needs to be liberalised. Secondly, there should be an increase in interaction among the stakeholders i.e. between faculty members, chamber of commerce, students and the industrial segment. Thirdly, investment should increase to upgrade the quality of education as well as technological up gradation so that quality education may reach the masses. Last but not the least, provision of scholarship for the meritorious yet economically underprivileged student should be increased.
What, in your opinion, distinguishes the Indian system of education, from systems abroad?
The Indian education system is one of the oldest in the world with a legacy that consists of rich heritage and enriched culture. Numerous countries in the past have and still are following the Indian education system. So vast is the belief that student of foreign nation origin come to India for higher studies. More so reports and statistics have shown that the strong foundation of Indian education system has led to the higher percentage of employment for students working abroad but have completed their education in India. As far as the world education systems are concerned, some countries are more technologically sound than India and have amalgamated pedagogy with technology giving it an edge above others.
How do you see the proliferation of private institutions in India today – What are the possible pros and cons of such institutions?
In India, the private sector has improved penetration and enrolment remarkably. Its share in higher education has increased from just 43% in 2001 to 63% of the total number of institutions in 2006–2007. In 2016, there are 45 central universities, 329 state universities and 207 private universities and about 65% of higher educational institutes are in the private sector.
Indian private Institutions are playing an important role in the enhancement of quality education infrastructure and maintenance of a pro–consumer attitude. The reason behind this is tough competition nationally and internationally. According to India Today, career–conscious students and bright scholars are now choosing private universities because they are ‘tuned into the needs of changing times and come equipped with state–of–the–art facilities’.
The pros of such institutions are that with the increase of private institutions regulatory bodies will become more active to standardise educational quality. The cons of such institutions are these institutions are self–financed and thus there are short of funds wherein more government intervention is necessary.
Which are some of the offbeat courses that are there in your university?
JIS University offers innovative programs like business analytics, financial services, film, animation, visual effects, media and communication. Besides the traditional undergraduate and postgraduate courses, there are integrated B.Sc. M.Sc. courses in sciences like Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Geology, Geography, Biotechnology, Microbiology etc. Some other flavours of integrated courses are available in the form of BBA–MBA, LLB and BBA–LLB (Honours). It imparts numerous degrees in Science, Technology, Medicine, Management, Law, Humanities, Social Sciences, Education, Performing Arts, Films and other fields of study.
What are your future plans?
The vision of JIS, as a brand, is to establish premier educational institutes pan India that will shine ‘as bright as the North Star’ in the educational sector. We have a lot of plans in the anvil. Today, JIS Group Educational Initiatives is Eastern India’s largest educational conglomerate with 25 institutes, 93 courses and over 25000 students. Our goal in the next two years is to increase the student intake to 50,000 plus. We also plan to commence several universities, medical colleges, ITI, polytechnic colleges as well ITI’s pan India.