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The Sharda Model - A Unique Model of Sharda University

Online Desk | August 25, 2013
The Sharda Model of Sharda University

The Sharda Model of Sharda University

Sharda University has reshaped the structure and process of the entire Indian private higher education sector by virtue of a unique model, a model that has successfully broken the strategic moulds of around 55% of all private institutions of higher education in India - The Sharda Model.

Many more have already embarked on the implementation of the model. The ultimate outcome is that the entire private higher education sector has shot up from a germinating seed to a global hub of education in less than one decade. There is now a huge demand for graduates of Indian universities in the global market.

The higher education sector, owing to its huge potential, holds very promising prospects with an estimated 150 mn people in the age group of 18-23 years.

The number of people entering the Indian higher education sector is growing at a significant rate. The gross enrolment rates (GER) have increased from 12.4% or 15.5 mn in 2006-07 to 15% or 17.3 mn 2009-10*. The number of people in the age bracket of 15-24 years enrolled in educational institutes grew from approximately 30 mn in 2004-05 to over 60 mn in 2009-10*. These trends present a huge opportunity for private sector players looking to provide quality education and services in this sector.

As of UGC annual report of 2010-2011, of 610 universities around 23% belonged to the private sector, in effect, the ratio is much higher considering that many of the Deemed universities hold private status.

Unfortunately though there is a wide disparity in higher education Gross Enrolment Ratios (GERs) across states, urban and rural areas, gender, and communities. In 2011, the GER in urban areas is 23.8 per cent while in rural areas it is a poor 7.5 per cent. Delhi has a GER of 31.9 per cent whereas Assam lags behind at 8.3 per cent. Education has been believed to be the best tool to bridge the gap between the haves and the have-nots.

This is where Sharda Model has become extremely relevant. The model follows a two dimensional strategic pathways.

Dimension one relates to 'Widening Participation'

Widening participation is founded on the premise that HEIs must ensure participation in education by people from all walks of life. Sharda Group is the first HEI that briefly borrowed the UK 'widening participation' framework and over a very short period of time adapted to the Indian context, which differs from that of UK in a wide variety of ways. The way Sharda has executed its widening participation approaches has made all the difference and indeed, compelled other HEIs to adopt the model extensively.

Some initiatives that are an integral part of the first strategic pathway are:

1. Setting up schools with requisite facilities in the most destitute of rural areas.
2. Funding education of students at both Sharda owned schools as well as schools administered by other institutions, private or public in both rural and urban locations
3. Building facilities for physically/mentally challenged students
4. Building individualized yet nonconventional relationships with parents irrespective of their social status.

These relationships coupled with the fact that Sharda has ensured education of their children has resulted in their confidence in Sharda; Sharda to them is a 'Godsend'. Actions rather than mere rhetoric are the reasons as to why parents say with their eyes closed, "Let Sharda decide about the future of my children". Today, to a parent whether a janitor, a milkman, a slum dweller or a drug addict, the education of their children at any university in the country is a reality rather than a dream or even a luxury.

Dimension two: Sustained Quality over time

Attempts to maximize number typically occur at the expense of quality. This is a flaw that the Sharda Model overcame with a considerable magnitude of complexity and discomfort. Nevertheless, it has been achieved.

The ways are: The essence is to create quality students beginning at an early age.

1. Targeting Feeder Institutions (not owned by Sharda university) based on their CLVs to build collaborative relationships both formal and informal
2. Sharda has teams of school educators that by rotation visit a specified number of schools each week to give lessons to students in collaboration with local teachers. This enables our university to bond psychologically, socially and critically, intellectually with school children at an earlier age.
3. We train teachers at both Sharda University teachers' training centre as well as offer hands on exposure to in real settings, i.e., at the schools.
4. There's a regular supply or replacement of appropriate logistics needed for delivery of education compatible with quality curriculum.
5. Organising/sponsoring field trips and sporting events

These are examples of many quality-driven initiatives or projects upon which Sharda model thrives.

The two major outcomes that result from these are: a. Sound grounding for students so long as their school education is concerned; and b. By the time children are grown up to seek entry into higher education, Sharda has become their family and invariably, their first choice.

The two-dimensional matrix of strategic pathways illustrates clearly that around 55% of Private Higher Education Institutions that have followed the Sharda model have performed equally impressively on both dimensions of attaining participation by students of all sorts of psychological, physical, social, financial and intellectual attributes as well as ensuring sustained rather improved ability of these students to perform adequately.

* Foreign students would not become a core target unless there's absolute evidence as regards their quality. Although Bangladeshi students are regarded highly, they had undermined for whatever reason their potential perform by ending at unaccredited, often blacklisted US universities most of which did never exist anywhere.

* Financial implications for the owners are minimal for two reasons:

1. They have loads of dosh and they are extremely committed to investing, if needed, most of it in quality education for all that comes with premier accolades; and

2. Research has shown over and over that it's more expensive to attract new students than to retain existing ones, and we've demonstrated already that they are attracting students mostly through relationship marketing efforts. There are short term costs involved but over time there's a consistent inflow of a large number of intellectually competent students.

Any educational institution anywhere in the world would die to get both quality and quantity, simultaneously. And Sharda model has enabled the university to achieve an accolade that's a rarity yet I'm positively inclined that like 55% of the private universities in India, institutions of higher education in other countries including Bangladesh can grow and persist on a similar model. শিক্ষা সংক্রান্ত খবরাখবর নিয়মিত পেতে রেজিস্ট্রেশন করুন অথবা Log In করুন।

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