ARTICLE COURTESY : http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/economy/let-students-be-entrepreneurs-too-kris-gopalakrishnan/article5855217.ece
India needs a large number of young entrepreneurs who can be nurtured at the college level, said S Goplakrishnan, Executive Vice-Chairman, Infosys Ltd.
Engineering colleges should allow students to start a business in the second year to run it for the next three years. By this, students can combine real-life problems as an entrepreneur while pursuing their degree, Gopalakrishnan said.
He was delivering the valedictory address at Pan IIT Alumni Leadership Series 2013 on the topic ‘Bringing Real World to the Classroom’ at IIT-Madras.
Safe to fail
College is a safe place to fail as 99 per cent of students will not come out with a product or a solution but would know what it means to start a business, paying salaries, raising money, creating bank account and dealing with profit and loss account – everything about doing business than just reading textbooks.
This model is being tried at Kerala University and Kochi University as part of their curriculum. A student gets 20 per cent waiver in attendance to run a business, and 4 per cent grace marks.
As every student now wants to be a start-up engineer, it is safe to fail when you are a student because there are no implications in real life, less people are dependent on you and this is the time you can experiment and risk failure.
For a venture capitalist, it is cheaper to fund a student whose expectations are lower. Icons such as Bill Gate and Mark Zuckerber started their business as students, he said.
Colleges should make classrooms more interesting for students. Challenge the students to solve real-life problems so that they can contribute back to the society.
In the 20th century, teachers were transferring knowledge from printed material. In the 21st century, a student has lot more knowledge than teachers and both have access to the same source available on the Internet, he said.
In the classroom, help students apply knowledge to solve real-life problems. At the start of the semester, give five things to them to make it happen during the semester and each of it would be distributed to various teams with certain responsibilities.
Classroom as lab
That’s how one can bring knowledge together in a classroom, which then becomes a lab. Gopalakrishnan said, “We need a better model for everything in our life not just about information technology. We have to rethink what we are doing today. We have to reengineer, reinvent for the 21st century. I believe India can contribute back to the world new models, new pedagogy and new solutions.”