By Athula Pitigala-Arachchi
Looking at the non-state higher education from a business perspective, one could, no doubt, recognise several typical practices of the corporate sector. These include corporate planning/strategizing, marketing, seeing students as customers, customer (student) orientation and a focus on customer satisfaction, demand responsiveness, continuous efforts at improving efficiency/productivity, and expectation of a reasonable return on the investments made. These are not necessarily bad things; on the contrary, these, in an appropriate regulatory environment, may help improve quality and standards of higher education provision.
A closer look at the non-state higher education reveals some distinctive features. Listed below are a few principles that I have tried to uphold and a few attributes that I have come to appreciate over nearly two decades of non-state higher education management and leadership. These, I believe, move the non-state higher education towards social entrepreneurship where the primary focus is on addressing and resolving a social problem – in the case of non-state higher education, educating our youth to become useful citizens.
These practices and features would set non-state higher education apart from regular business undertakings. While retaining the good practices of traditional higher education provision, non-state higher education seems to adapt established corporate practices to improve efficiency and effectiveness. Given the fact that resources are limited, I cannot help but wonder if this is not the best way to deliver higher education universally.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SLANSHEI or its members