Terming spending on education as abysmally low at 3 per cent of GDP, eminent industry leader Deepak Parekh today called for “aggressive” investments by the government as well as corporates in the sector, saying it is the key to unlock India’s demographic dividend.
“For a country like India, spending on education is abysmally low at 3 per cent of GDP. India has one of the youngest populations in the world and effective investment in education will determine how well the population is educated and this in turn will enhance the productivity of the demographic dividend,” Parekh said as the financial sector conglomerate headed by him launched its first school named HDFC School here.
“Though the allocation for the education sector has gone up progressively in the past decade, there is still a need that the Indian government and private sector invest aggressively in education sector going forward.
“There is a lot of innovation that can be brought into the education space and with this initiative, HDFC aims to create a visible impact on schooling system,” he added.
Parekh, Chairman of HDFC Ltd, said the group’s education initiative is an answer to the question “Why can’t equal opportunities be provided to all Indians to secure quality education for their children leading to better careers and better lives?”
“A school is a first step in a student’s entire life cycle. With a simple motto of ‘Educate, Excel and Empower’, HDFC School seeks to set an example of best practices in education,” he said after inaugurating the school.
The school is becoming functional with academic year 2015-2016 under the leadership of eminent educationalist and academician Anita Makkar.
While the school has started its primary wing, taking admissions from pre-nursery to grade III this year, it is also in the process of setting up a 5 acre campus for its higher secondary wing.
Intended to be a nursery to grade 12 school in time, it will follow the National Curriculum Framework 2005, and will be affiliated to CBSE.
Renu Sud Karnad, Managing Director, HDFC Ltd, is leading HDFC’s foray in the education sector.
“Of the total schools in India, only 8 per cent are privately run but they account for 40 per cent of total students enrolled in schools.
“This demand supply mismatch suggests that more privately-owned ethically run institutions can bring about a positive influence in the development of Indian school segment,” she said.
“With the launch of HDFC School, we are starting with some baby steps to build an education organisation which has a philosophy of providing high quality education to all.
“HDFC has played a pioneering role in housing finance with the focus of enabling the Indian middle class to own their home. Entry in the education sector will enable HDFC to provide access to quality and finest education in the country,” she added.
“The HDFC School will focus on academics, and at the same time seek to develop well-rounded students, who will flourish in a pluralistic society. It is our endeavour to develop responsible young global citizens,” Makkar said.
HDFC Ltd is India’s leading mortgage lender with cumulative housing loan disbursements of over Rs 5,00,000 crore over the last 37 years.
HDFC has emerged as a financial conglomerate by promoting a bank, insurance company (for life and general), an asset management company, a real estate venture capital company, a realty firm and an education finance company.
The HDFC group has an asset base of over Rs 10 trillion and a customer base of over 55 million.