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While we talk about business and political leaders and also of religious / spiritual leaders, very rarely we talk about the quality of academic leaders and leadership. The inspirational stories of leaders and their leadership styles in various sectors have elevated them and the cause to extraordinary levels. The people who research and write these case studies and teach also should imbibe and be great academic leaders as they progress in their careers. Prof. VKRV Rao with his contributions of Delhi School a of Economics, Institute of Economic Growth in Delhi and Institute of Economic and Social Change in Bangalore, stands tall in this field.

Academic leadership is best manifested in institution building. Great institution builders create and take the institution to glory in a reasonably short duration of time. Vikram Sarabhai, the renowned scientist, besides ISRO founded the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad, institutions which are leading the country to this day. NR Madhav Menon, besides being considered as the father of modern legal education, founded National Law School of India University in Bangalore, which became premier law school in a very short time.

Education has been growing far and wide, witnessed from the number of universities and professional colleges across the country. Besides the iconic ones which become leaders on their one because of personal qualities, is there a need to create academic leaders who are trained for the leadership positions they handle. The business management / leadership model might be of great use. The present Professor turned academic leader generally doesn’t have the energy, which is required for such roles.

Vision is the key to any leadership position and how can that be inculcated is the question which every management and regulatory body would have to find an answer to. The other question is, does corporatisation of education provided for a leadership of this type to emerge. The assembly line system is there to stay and that too low quality assembly line system. Reasons are many but the solution is only one, to locate the right talent and groom him for such responsible positions. He would be the final enabler of higher quality education in India. Is the system ready?


Sanjay Sahay

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