Business Standard

‘India should have world-class education ecosystem’

- ANAND MAHINDRA Chairman, Mahindra Group

Mahindra Group Chairman ANAND MAHINDRA and his family have pledged ~550 crore over the next five years for Mahindra University (MU) and the Indira Mahindra School of Education in Hyderabad. MU was establishe­d in 2020. In a telephonic conversati­on with Sohini Das, Mahindra outlines his vision for MU in the long run. Edited excerpts:

What is your long-term vision for MU?

I want to credit a gentleman named Vineet Nayar, who served as the vice-chairman of Tech Mahindra during my tenure as chairman. He’s since retired. He is a great educationi­st himself, and one day he came to me and said, “Anand, your family is always dedicated to the cause of education”. He added that, given the commitment we have as a family, we really ought to set up

a university.

It has long been our aspiration to establish world-class universiti­es here, attracting people from around the world, rather than Indians having to go overseas. However, my concern has always been the red tape surroundin­g accreditat­ion for a private university.

When we took over Satyam, a 130-acre campus came to us which was created for training, which seemed overly large for its limited purpose.

So, Vineet suggested we should start there.

And so we began with one college called the Mahindra École Centrale, the College of Engineerin­g. The École Centrale is the French equivalent of the

Indian Institute of Technology.

Our endeavour has been strongly supported and encouraged by the government. The vision is simple: to establish a top-class university with multiple schools that are all symbols of excellence in their respective areas. Recently, I have spoken about the soft power that America possesses, much of which comes from its universiti­es that attract people from around the world. The vision is for India to have one of the best and most thriving educationa­l ecosystems globally, validated by people across the globe eager to come here. While it took Oxford and the American Ivy League colleges a century to achieve this, I believe it doesn’t need to take that long, but that’s the broader vision.

Tell us about the

projects you have started at MU.

One of the initial projects we embarked on was establishi­ng a school of education named after my mother, Indira Mahindra — the Indira Mahindra School of Education — in honour of her dedication to teaching. Despite her humble beginnings, she rose to become a professor of history at Isabella Thoburn College in Lucknow.

She often emphasised the importance of focusing on developing teachers when providing scholarshi­ps to children. She believed that without cultivatin­g a strong repository of educators in our country, we would never achieve excellence in education. To support this cause, we have pledged ~50 crore to the School of Education.

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