Special education zones in the offing

Call for private players in the field

It has asked potential investors to explore the possibilities in the 14 world class “innovation universities,” which will come up across the country, including one near Mysore, through public-private-partnership. Now, educational institutions in the country are run as not-for-profit entities.

Identifying the lack of participation of “for-profit” organisations as a major impediment hampering the growth of education sector, the report said with private investors shying away, this sector has remained devoid of benefits such as efficiency, governance and access to funds.

In this backdrop, Ernst and Young says in a recent report that setting up SEZs will be a concept worth evaluation for the capitalisation of knowledge.

Titled “Building blocks : Infrastructure in education,”  the report referred to a proposal of the National Association of Software and Service Companies (Nasscom), which had mooted the concept initially to cater to the Indian IT industry.

Elaborating on the profile of SEZs, the report said these zones should be free from government control. And institutes operating in these zones would be able to run with complete autonomy.

“These institutes would have the freedom of framing their own syllabus, fix the fee and decide on the student intake,” it said.

Low-risk proposition

Maintaining that education as a segment has proved itself to be more resilient to economic downturns, the report said investing in education would be a low-risk proposition.

“Depending upon the model, the revenue from an educational institute can provide the developer a stable cash flow. Moreover, establishing educational institutes, especially schools, in a residential development improves the saleability of a project,” the report said.

PPP models

The consultant also mentioned four PPP models, which are under consideration by the Planning Commission for running and upgrading infrastructure in higher education.

As part of the basic infrastructure model, the private sector could invest in infrastructure while the government could run the operations and management and make annual payments to the private player.

As per the outsourcing model, private players should invest in infrastructure in addition to running operations and management, while the government will pay for select services.
Also, there are proposals asking the private player and the government to share the investment in infrastructure while operation and management will fall in the purview of the private player.

Pointing to the huge demand-supply gap in educational infrastructure in India, the report cited the National Building Code stating that for every 1,25,000 population there is requirement of a general category college, while for every 10,00,000 population there is requirement of a technical and professional college.


-Lack of participation of “for-profit” organisations a major impediment hampering the growth of education sector

-The education sector has remained devoid of benefits such as efficiency, governance and access to funds

-SEZs will be free of government control

-Institutes operating in these zones would be able to run with complete autonomy

-They will have freedom of framing their own syllabus, fix the fee and decide on
student intake

-The private sector could invest in infrastructure

-The govt could run the operations and management and make annual payments
to the private player

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