JUSCO runs nine schools in Jamshedpur with more than 5,000 students. And CEO Sanjiv Paul has big plans in this area. "Providing quality education at an affordable price is a mission for us, not a business opportunity," he says. The JUSCO chief is unwilling to reveal details, though. "We're in the process of creating a model, which we feel can become the blueprint for educational institutions in future. But I don't want to discuss it till we firm things up," he says. It's good to see the Tatas beginning to work on developing a model for schools that will provide quality education at an affordable price. I hope many other organisations will follow the example of the Tatas and focus on the "quality education at an affordable price" niche rather than the high end niche that Reliance, , DPS, Birlas and others are focussing on.
Though Sanjiv Paul, the JUSCO chief says they are not looking at more as a mission than as a business opportunity, it is indeed a business opportunity not to be sneezed at. There is huge demand out there for quality, affordable education and anyone who can come up with a replicable, viable business model to meet that demand will be onto a big thing. I'm sure Sanjiv Paul, who's responsibility is also to turn JUSCO from a cost centre into a profit centre knows this only too well.
Business Today carried a story on the Jamshedpur Utility and Services Company (JUSCO) which, till last year was Tata Steel's town planning and management services division and is now a 100% subsidiary of Tata Steel. According to the story,
"Tata Steel has been managing Jamshedpur since 1907 and has had as much experience in civic management as in making steel, but had not leveraged this competency for commercial gains," says Sanjiv Paul, Managing Director of JUSCO, and the man charged with turning an erstwhile cost centre of the steel behemoth into a profit centre in its own right.
The focus areas of JUSCO will be
• Construction and Facilities Management
• Public Health and Horticultural Services and
Addendum: JUSCO had advertised in The Hindu (March 17, 2004) for the post of Chief (Education). According to the ad, the candidate "should be an educationist with experience of running and managing a chain of schools and should have passion for creating excellence in the field of education and uplifting the standards of school under his charge."
Tata Steel's JUSCO is developing a model to provide quality school education at an affordable price
Business Today (July 18, 2004) http://prayatna.typepad.com/education/2004/09/tata_steels_jus.html