Higher education in India is in a state of veiled fallacy, both in terms of quantity as well as quality. Given all that one reads about our country's massive progress in various fields, this statement may sound like an exaggeration. However, a closer look, going beyond the headlines and sound bites, will make this evident to anybody but the most partisan observer. India has close to 4,000 management schools that produce over 300,000 graduates every year. But the country has less than 25 niche management schools focusing on the rural sector and most of them are government-run. Rural management schools produce less than 1,000 quality rural managers.
The small number is surprising considering the importance of the rural sector, in India's economy. The rural economy accounts for 50 percent of the country's gross domestic product. Since 2000, per capita GDP has grown at 6.2 per cent a year in rural India compared with 4.2 per cent in urban areas and this has happened with a meager number of 25 management schools producing managers for rural India. What the country needs is a generation of managers who can lead this huge resource in the right direction. Between 2009 and 2012, Indians in the countryside spent $69 billion compared with $55 billion in big towns and cities. This is a clear indication of the lack of focus and misallocation of resources in these areas. The education in the country needs to take a new curve and delve into the huge pool of resource that is laying in wait to be utilized.
Institutions such as Institute of Rural Management, Anand (IRMA) which is featured on our cover stands out with its uniquely tuned pedagogy for Rural Management. There are several other institutes working towards the good cause such as Hyderabad's National Institute of Agricultural Extension Management (MANAGE), Jaipur-based National Institute of Agricultural Marketing (NIAM), Pune's Vaikunth Mehta National Institute of Co-operative Management (VAMNICOM), to name a few.
Mainstream management schools have not ventured into rural management for many reasons. One simple reason being they are not prepared to handle such a specialized discipline. For a country our size we need many more institutions such as these that are strategically placed throughout the country to build the agents of change.
This issue also presents the "Top 25 Private/Deemed University survey" to provide assistance to the large community of students in India. We hope this proves to be beneficial for you.
Please do let us know.