Stratford University and K. K. Modi Group signed a joint venture agreement on the university’s main campus in Falls Church, Virginia on Oct. 1 to establish one campus and two learning sites in India.
Dr. Richard R. Shurtz, II, the President of Stratford University, indicated that in the next 25 years, 45 million additional individuals in India will enter the workforce, and during the same period, the world will incur a labor shortage of about an equal number of people. Dr. Shurtz said:
“These individuals [in India] need to be trained for productive employment. If not, there will be huge loss for India and the world.”
Dr. Shurtz continued: “The Modi Group’s vision for education, in terms of helping individuals achieve their career goals through competence-based education, and their vision of using education to help achieve the goals of industry and the economic development were in perfect alignment with our vision.” He said that it makes sense to work together to anticipate the largest emerging education market in the world – India.
K. K. Modi, the chairman of K. K. Modi Investment and Financial Services, said the three months that he spent at Harvard in 1984, when he did an advanced management program, was the most interesting period for him. Then he discovered a unique method of education.
“The role of teacher was quite different. He was not teaching; he was facilitating,” said Mr. Modi. The amount of encouragement that students received impressed him.
Thereafter every year, the Modi group sent the company’s executives to Harvard for the advanced management program despite the high cost. Speaking of why he chose Stratford University to partner with, Modi said he observed, “One thing they do is to study the needs of industry and the needs of customers and tailor their program to them, so that a student comes out of it able to perform.”
Mr. Modi hopes to create an education system that will benefit India.
Mrs. Mary Ann Shurtz, Executive Vice President of Stratford University, wants to offer Indian students the opportunity to get quality American education with their local price. While it takes roughly $20,000 to finish a Master’s degree on Stratford’s campus in the U.S., it would take only one-fifth that amount for a student studying in India.
Mr. Modi expects to enroll 700-800 students on the New Delhi campus in the first year and 10,000 students at the end of five years. He wants the program to focus on business management and IT, which he believes are strong career courses at Stratford.
Modi Group is one of the largest employers in India, employing 28,000 people. K. K. Modi’s eldest daughter Charu Modi Bhartia has a special interest in higher education and is leading the company’s ventures in this area.
Stratford offers undergraduate and graduate programs in high demand fields such as information technology, hospitality, culinary arts, and business administration. It aims to attract both domestic and international students. It is also looking to find opportunities for similar joint ventures in countries like China and Brazil, where young people long for quality education and industries need quality employees.