Why is Dr Rajan, who is very much a public figure, not engaged in the public education system, and why do you have to branch out to the private sphere?
It’s not much of private. The intention is to make it available to those who qualify. There will be scholarships for those who can’t afford to pay. There is far more flexibility in creating a new institution when you come together without the existing structures. That’s why it’s important to try and experiment outside the formal public structure.
But even then the fee is Rs 700,000-800,000 per annum for a four-year course.
This is what it costs. When we talk about IITs, you will have to look at what the true cost per student the country is paying. Now that is buried somewhere in the government budget. And students are paying only a fraction of it. I paid a fraction of the cost it took the country to educate me. With private institutions, the cost is all out there. If you want quality, you want to pay your faculty a reasonable amount, you want buildings as places in which you feel like learning, you have to spend money. What we are trying to say is that we will try and ensure that anybody who is admitted can afford to pay. Certainly in this country we can’t subsidise education too much.
Education inflation was always a worrying factor for you. Now that if you have such a high fee structure for a premier institute, there is a good chance that other private institutions will hike their fees.
I don’t think the intention is to make enormous amounts of money here. This is a not-for-profit institute. What we will try to do is to keep it as affordable as possible. But you have to ensure a certain quality of education. Now if this institution turns out to be overly expensive, alternatives will come up. Competition will always work, even in the education market. We have lots of entities that can provide quantity, but we need to ensure that we have at least some that can provide quality. As I said, there are institutions that are very respectable out there.
Will it have courses like monetary economics etc, where you could be engaged?
I think there would be a course in economics. Any course in economics will certainly teach undergrads micro economics, macro-economics and so on. The extent to which it specializes into master’s level courses that will have to stage two or three down the line. Initially what we want to give is strong undergrad curriculum for the students who are coming in.