An exclusive interview of Mr. Danishmand
BY KHALIL AHMED
May 22 - May 28, 2006
Mr Danishmand is the Dean & Director of one of the most prestigious business schools in the world. He is an IBA graduate of 1960. He continued his studies at USC where he completed his doctoral course work in 1963-65, with major in Management. He also served as a faculty and chairman at the San Fernando Valley State College (now known as California State University, Northridge) from 1966 to 1971. He joined IBA in 1971 as Associate Professor. Subsequently he has served as Group Director at Atlas Group, and CE of various organizations including Atlas Honda. Before joining IBA in June, 2002, Danishmand was Chief Executive and Chairman of Suzuki Motorcycles. Danishmand is a fellow of the British Management Institute and is also co-author of the book "Communication in Business and Industry" with James Lee, and also author of the book "Management Survey". He is author of a number of publications in the areas of Communications, Economic Policy, Administration and Ethics in Management. He received 'Award of Excellence and Lifetime Achievement' from Marketing Association of Pakistan. He was chosen by the George Washington University as external examiner.
PAGE: What does an individual need to be an educationist?
Danishmand: An educationist apart from being a specialist in theories and methods of teaching is one who is focused on the attainment of the purpose of education. An educationist is a specialist in the theory of education so one needs to comprehend in the first place how to be specialist in the theory of education and later he needs to pass on the knowledge to others and this would be the best attainment one can ever dream of.
PAGE: In 1951, 22 million citizens out of 34 million of the total population were illiterate. In 1998, 48 million citizens out of 132 million of the total population were illiterate. At present literacy rate is around 55% which means that over 70 million citizens out of over 155 million of the total population are illiterate. How would you comment on it?
Danishmand: All the political parties in the Western world pay lip-service to environmental issues and so do the authorities in Pakistan to the education issues. I mean to utter very blatantly that education has received a lip-service in our country so far. The government has to go out of way to allocate the requisite resources to address the need of education. This is a very big issue which needs to be prioritized at the earliest convenience.
We must not forget that it is only education and nothing but education which builds nations. In case we are serious enough to make a difference---a remarkable difference--- in the world and let other nations know that we also exist, we need to make sure that every male and female in our country gets an opportunity to be educated and this would be the first step towards lasting prosperity we often dream of .
I'd like to give you an extremely successful instance of primary education. The USA has been extremely successful in implementing the decisions and getting a successful primary level education whereas we confront the predicaments of implementation of decision. We do take decisions however the decisions don't get implemented. Restricting the problem of implementation to Sindh, I'd say that the most cumbersome issue in this province is the implementation of the decisions due to political and various other issues.
Total commitment is the need of the hour to ameliorate the prevailing less than satisfactory conditions. For this, merit in selection should be the priority and people should be held accountable.When it comes to higher education, the problem is again very serious partially by virtue of untrained teachers. Off course, no nation can overcome such problems overnight but the immediate and inordinate remedy is needed. I see dearth of good teachers across the world. We need to work with consistency and high aims to develop quality teachers and researchers no matter even if it takes decades.
PAGE: It was announced that Education budget would be increased from 2.7 percent of GDP to 4% of GDP and last week the President and the Prime Minister announced 50% increase in the education budget. How do you see it?
Danishmand: The decision to increase education budget is commendable and this speaks volumes for the earnest approach of the President and the Prime Minister. To me, the basic issue is not the allocation of funds but how the allocated amount is spent. There are influential figures in local politics that are not held accountable for the actual mismanagement of funds. What I suggest is that research should be done prior to the utilization of the funds which will lead to the right start and transparency simultaneously.
PAGE: According to one estimate there are 115 private and public universities across Pakistan. Do you think it is sufficient number for the huge population? What steps should be taken in this regard?
Danishmand: The number of universities and higher education institutes is very small considering the panorama of education across the globe. Nevertheless I see it in a different way. First, only a tiny minority in our country as compared to our neighbouring countries opts for getting education in universities and higher education institutes because majority of the students abandon after secondary level of education owing to varied reasons.
Budget Allocation For Education.
Rs In Billion
This calls for the need that primary and secondary education should be taken care of in the first place. Second, we should not worry about the number of universities and higher education institutes rather the quality of education should be the focal point. There is exponential growth in the number of poor quality universities and higher education institutes at present which should be a sore point.
PAGE: What would you say about the skyrocketing fees being charged by the Business Schools in our country?
Danishmand: Quality comes at a price. Let me give you a real picture. As I have told you that there is dearth of quality teachers and with this there is also competition to attract quality researchers and faculty members. In order to do this, the quality business schools have to offer a handsome package to attract and retain them and thus the expenses incurred are colossal, to say the least. Let me give you examples of India. In India, the fees are far higher than Pakistani schools. Indian School of Business charges 1.3 million Indian rupees a year for MBA. No institute in Pakistan charges even half of the mentioned amount.
Since I have talked about quality and price, I must tell you that Indian School of Business is the right instance in this regard. The ISB's association with the Kellogg School of Management, The Wharton School, and London Business School makes the ISB one of its kind in Asia. The ISB is the dream of some of the best minds from the corporate and academic world. Their aspiration in creating the ISB is to establish an internationally top-ranked, research-driven, independent management institution that grooms future leaders for India and the world. So to get education from top-ranked institute, one has to pay the amount in line with the quality provided.
At IBA, there is variable scale of fees. On average per semester fee for all programmes is around Rs 51,000. One is supposed to pay around Rs 202,000 for a two-year program. We have sound offer for the promising students. I must reveal that half of the total number of students pay less than Rs 60,000 per annum. We must remember that Education is not a commodity; it is virtue. Good education beautifies the mind and ennobles the character. More and more, in the modern world, corporate business rests on rectitude, honour and good moral judgment. Such value-added education is not an expense; it is an asset.
PAGE: The tag line of IBA is 'Leadership and Ideas for Tomorrow'. Elaborate please:
Danishmand: The IBA's aspiration to groom tomorrow's leaders is grounded in the belief that leadership skills can be learned and that successful leaders must take charge of their own development and growth to achieve their true potential. However, it is our strong belief that the model of leadership should be grounded in a strong foundation of core values. One of our core values is humility. We teach our students to work hard with sincerity and help others grow at the same time. I must tell you also faculty members play a crucial role in this regard. We have at present 70 full time faculty members including 25 Ph.D. faculty members. We intend to induct more quality faculty members shortly. Four years ago, we had just 42 full time faculty members. At the moment, our faculty-student ratio is 1:19 and in a couple of years we like to have 1:12.
PAGE: Traditionally, the IBA has been offering business education. Has the addition of computer science education offered by the IBA diluted the value of the IBA?
Danishmand: Not at all. We never compromise on quality. Let me tell you that we announced MS in Finance and since we could not get the quality candidates we were looking for, we cancelled the programme. As far as our computer science faculty members are concerned, we have very high quality faculty.
PAGE: What could be the reason that the IBA has not been able to offer the Ph.D. programme so far?
Danishmand: We began the Ph.D. programme but stopped it because we could not compromise on quality. We wanted to have excellent applicants for the program which could not be materialized. We began Ph.D. programme in computer science last year and it is in full swing at present. We intend to initiate MS in Economics and Ph.D. in Finance this year. We like to ensure that we have very high quality Ph.D. program.
PAGE:What has IBA given to the nation?
By Khalil Ahmed IBA has given over 6000+ quality graduates so far and every year over 300 fresh IBA graduates join the corporate world and serve the nation with zeal and zest.
LITERACY RATES (10+ YEARS) IN PAKISTAN: 1998
Source: Population Census Report, 1998