Remember Nalanda? The University was center of higher learning and one of the world’s first residential universities. Well, a lot has changed in Bihar since then and the change has mostly been for bad (or worse).
But entrepreneurs are entrepreneurs and Chandrakant Singh, a M.Tech from IIT Bombay has started ‘Chaitanya Gurukul Trust’ that is unique in many ways.
Present in Chamanpura village (where there is no electricity), the school has 45 rooms across 2 Wi-Fi enabled floors, 4 volleyball courts, 4 badminton courts and a cricket pitch (swimming pool is under construction) – i.e. a world class infrastructure.
Since the village still doesn’t have electricity, the computers are run on power generators and teachers are selected from different parts of the state. Remote teachers use Skype for teaching and basic tuition fee is Rs 300 for Class I and increases by Rs 100 for every class upward.
Why do this?
One of the Objectives of the school is
To provide world class quality education in Bihar to prevent brain-drain from and at the same time stop the out flow of money from Bihar to different states.
Chandrakant Singh started thinking about this when MNS stared their anti-Bihar campaign in Mumbai
“I was greatly disturbed, and wanted to arrest the migration of students from Bihar, in my small way.
The first instinct was to get in touch with the principal of the primary government school in Chamanpura with an offer to fund six students who would pass a scholarship test. But the principal never conducted the test.
Singh then sought the advice of Surya Narayan, dean of IIT, Bombay, who suggested that he make a business plan for a revenue-generating, self-sustaining model instead of taking the charity route. Singh then wrote a 100-page plan — a blueprint for a Rs 30-crore campus that would be completed over 10 years, including a school, an engineering college and an R&D centre. He e-mailed the plan to 3,000 friends, eight of whom agreed to fund it. With these eight and himself, Singh formed the Chaitnaya Gurukul Trust.[source]
Inspiring and daring!
The point to be noted here is that Chandrakant Singh wrote a business plan for the entire setup and didn’t live on charity – that’s what makes the cut.
And as we debated earlier, social entrepreneurship does not mean a not-for-profit organization [read: Defining Social Entrepreneurship].