Vice-chairman, Jaipuria Institute of Management and Seth M.R. Jaipuria Schools, Delhi
Where would you place education on your national list of priorities?
Among the very top together with the connected priority of employment generation. Education should equip the nation’s children/youth with skills necessary for gainful employment in the 21st century economy.
How best to upgrade government schools and colleges?
The focus has to be on upgrading the skills of teachers through intensive and continuous in-service training and providing them access to high-quality learning materials and pedagogies.
Thinker/philosopher you admire the most.
Plato, who explained the importance of questioning and reasoning the most basic assumptions in his book The Republic.
Your favourite Nobel laureate.
Muhammad Yunus, founder of the Grameen Bank who created a model that connected economic, social and business development in Bangladesh.
Your leadership style.
Consultative. The job of leaders is to engineer an eco-system and environment which stimulates new ideas and innovation.
Your favourite book on education.
Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About The World and Why Things Are Better Than You Think by Hans Rosling (2018) — a must-read for educators.
For or against the RTE Act’s 25 percent reservation for underprivileged children in private schools?
Admission of poor neighbourhood children into private schools should be the last resort when they are not serviced by government schools.
Should the education outlay be doubled by cutting defence expenditure?
We don’t have to make that choice. Government should focus on providing education to the poorest of poor without disposable income. For other income groups, it should encourage private sector education.
How satisfied are you with the growth and development of the Seth M.R. Jaipuria group of schools?
Jaipuria has a legacy of more than 75 years in education. Over the past five years, we have been able to leverage this legacy and establish 19 new schools and add 13,000 students. We have another ten schools under construction. This journey has been extremely rewarding.
Pessimistic or optimistic about the future of education in India?
Very optimistic. The future of education is dependent on good quality private education being available at every price point.