The Manipal (Karnataka) and Bangalore-based Manipal Education and Medical Group (MEMG) represents an excellent example of the theory of enlightened self-interest (“businesses do well by doing good”). Seventy years ago in 1942, doctor, educationist, banker and philanthropist Dr. T.M.A. Pai (1898-1979) established the Academy of General Education, to train youth in the South Canara district of present-day Karnataka in the art of book-binding. Later he promoted the Kasturba Medical College (KMC) in 1953 and the Manipal Institute of Technology (1957) — India’s first ‘self-financed’ institutions of professional education, an institution development model which was foolishly trashed by the champions of neta-babu socialism with dreadful consequences for the development of Indian education. Since then Dr. Pai and two succeeding generations of this enterprising family, have established MEMG as the country’s most respected provider of professional (medical, engineering, business and hospitality management, communications, nursing, paramedical etc) education, notwithstanding a policy environment hostile to private initiatives in higher education.
After Dr. T.M.A. Pai passed away in 1979, the mantle of leadership of MEMG devolved upon his son Dr. Ramdas Pai who nurtured the Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE) and developed its host habitat of Manipal into the country’s first university town. Simultaneously, perhaps encouraged by the enthusiastic response of Malaysian students to medical and professional education dispensed by MAHE (25 percent of all medical practitioners in that country are KMC alumni) — Dr. Ramdas Pai established MEMG’s first overseas campuses in Malaysia, followed by Nepal, and Antigua, West Indies (to prepare medical students to write USMLE (US Medical Licentiate Examination) to qualify to practice in the US). Now with MAHE being conferred the status of Manipal University by the University Grants Commission in 1993, Dr. Pai has focused his attention on developing the not-for-profit academic institutions of MEMG in India.
Meanwhile the onus of accelerating the internationalisation of MEMG and developing the for-profit businesses of the group has been assumed in right earnest by the third generation Dr. Ranjan Pai, under MEMG’s subsidiary Manipal Global Education Services (MaGE). For this purpose Ranjan has assembled a formidable team of highly experienced professionals from Indian industry, to storm developing countries with the Manipal brand of high quality professional education at affordable price.
There is every chance of this unprecedented initiative succeeding. MaGE has inherited valuable institutional development knowhow and expertise from MEMG which provides high quality, English medium professional education at what are by global standards, rock-bottom prices. (Disclosure: EducationWorld has always enjoyed a mutual admiration relationship with MEMG. Way back in 2001 the group provided seed capital to the holding company of this publication, and currently owns 10 percent of our equity).
The inspirational cover story of the first issue of 2013 apart, there are several other interesting features and columns in this issue. Among them: the special report which features a summary of the major events in Indian education last year; a feature on the staging of the Khushwant Singh Literary Festival, Kasauli 2012. Happy New Year!