The very first issue of EducationWorld — The Human Development Magazine has hesitantly launched in a small 600 sq. ft low-ceiling office in Bangalore (now Bengaluru) on November 6, 23 years ago. The inaugural issue was blessed and formally released by the late Prof. N.S. Ramaswamy (1926-2012), a visionary and insufficiently honoured education institutions builder — founding-director of NITIE, Bombay, Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies (JBIMS) and Indian Institute of Management-Bangalore. Perhaps that’s why this publication despite — or perhaps because of — its ambitious mission statement (“to build the pressure of public opinion to make education the #1 item on the national agenda”, was greeted with indifference, and often hostility.
With the country’s risk-averse banking system, nationalised to enable business and industry, comprehensively uncooperative, we owe our institutional survival to the faith reposed in this ambitious venture by our magnanimous investors — the Manipal Education & Medical Group (Dr. Ramdas Pai); Glenn and Sandra Christo; Knowledge Universe, Los Angeles (Lowell and Mike Milken); my London-based sister Shyama Thakore; Everonn Group (P. Kishore); GEMS Group, Dubai (Sunny & Dino Varkey); Hemendra and Aditi Kothari, and edupreneur Aditya Mody. This a good occasion to thank them for their philanthropy, patience and sustained support.
Although the holding company of EducationWorld, which also publishes ParentsWorld and has several other education promotion verticals, hasn’t prospered sufficiently to reward our shareholders with dividends and bonuses, the good news is that it is a financially viable and self-supporting business enterprise. For this encomiums are due to our Mumbai-based business development team led by CEO Bhavin Shah.
However, for the editors and employees of EducationWorld (and ParentsWorld) financial viability is a means to fulfil the end of human resource development for national prosperity. Admittedly, education has not become the #1 item on the national agenda, but it has risen higher to mid-point.
Our cover story in this 23rd anniversary issue is a clarion call for greater private sector engagement with human resource development. As testified by several global wealth surveys, the number of HNI (high networth individuals) and unicorn companies in India is multiplying rapidly. Simultaneously India’s middle class has expanded to over 350 million citizens. This is an opportune time for all of us to practice philanthropy — big and small — to upgrade India’s education institutions from preschools to research institutes, into globally respected powerhouses of learning.
Let’s cooperate in our resolute mission to make education and human resource development the #1 item on the national development agenda.