The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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This is a story of how we lost our way in the woods on the outskirts of Pune…but actually we didn’t…we found a new way…” Just how many times have you seen such a brochure which literally takes you through the whole journey of setting up an institute. If you think hard, probably “no or never” would be the most likely answers.

However, the Foundation for Liberal and Management Education (FLAME), based in Pune (you guessed it right), is a very different type of institute. The brainchild of Parag Shah, (founder-chairman, FLAME), Nemish Shah (founder-director, FLAME) and Prof. Indira J. Parikh (founder-president, FLAME and ex-dean IIM-A), it’s a not-for-profit institute whose USPs are a great faculty and a great campus life.

Parag Shah says with a grin, “IIM-A rejected me decades back. It is then that I promised myself that I would have something to do with IIM-A and management.” And he’s definitely come good on his promise — having roped in big shots in management education from IIM-A. This institute is starting shop from July and is offering an undergraduate programme in liberal education as well as two postgraduate programmes — an MBA and an MBA in mass media. The four-year undergraduate course is the flagship course of FLAME.

Explore life

Indira J. Parikh, founder-president, FLAME

“Most students drift through their undergrad days because they have either taken up the course due to parental pressure or had no other choice. In effect, their heart is not in their course. So we decided to rectify this and designed a multi-disciplinary course which could sustain their interest,” says Prof. Parikh. Thus, the undergraduate course, which will culminate in a double qualification: a FLAME diploma in liberal education and a BA or a BBA (for which affiliation is being sought from Pune University), that promise to be ambitious in curriculum.

Parikh adds, “I am all for liberal education. I was exposed to this type of education in the US and benefited from this immensely.” Thus, the institute’s emphasis on liberal education. “Also, it was difficult to squeeze in sports and extra-curricular education in just three years,” claims Parikh. She hopes that this programme would lead to the “multi-dimensional growth of students”.

Course snapshots

It’s interesting to note that the institute wants to revive and promote the guru-shishya parampara . Would a guru-shishya environment gel well with the cutthroat competitive world of today' Parikh asserts: “Of course, it’s right for our times. By guru-shishya, we mean shared learning since even we as teachers have a lot to learn from our enlightened youngsters.”

The undergraduate programme is a four-year, full-time residential programme. It will have a trimester system and will have three trimesters in a year. Students will be exposed to a wide array of subjects, namely, introduction to IT, marketing, environmental science and finance. The ratio of residential teachers to students will be 1:14. Says Shah, “We have left no stones unturned to get the best of the faculty. For example, we are getting specialist teachers from the UK to teach English literature.”

The two-year MBA offered by the school of business will focus on developing theoretical, conceptual and intra-personal and inter-personal skills necessary for a career in management. In addition to management science subjects, the programme provides options in areas such as humanities and creative arts to turn out mature and well-rounded leaders. Parikh says, “The focus will be on developing the social-relational attitude which is so necessary for success.”

The MBA in mass media headed by Prof. Achyut Vaze, combines training in professional management and the craft of selected mass media disciplines, including cinema, television and broadcast journalism. The focus here is on hands-on, project-centric training and students here can choose from a wide range of specialisations.

Programmed to excel

Headed by Prof. Prakash Shingi, dean, FLAME (former dean and officiating director, IIM-A), the institute will draw the best faculty from India and from other countries.

To sample just a few of the luminaries who will hold sway at FLAME — Kiran Datar (educationist), Anu Aga (industrialist), Bakul H. Dholakia (economist and director IIM-A), Sanjna Kapoor (theatre person and director, Prithvi Theatre), Shreeram Lagoo (theatre and film actor), Vijay Tendulkar (playwright), Jayant V. Narlikar (astrophysicist), R.A. Mashelkar (director, CSIR), Subir Raha (former chairman, ONGC) and others.

However, all this quality education doesn’t come free. The fee, in fact, is pretty steep, pegged as it is at Rs 3.62 lakh per annum for undergraduate studies and Rs 5.52 lakh per annum for postgraduate studies. Students have the option to pay the fees in three instalments or pay the fees upfront. As Shah says, “Pay peanuts and get monkeys. If you are not willing to pay good money for your education, how are we to rope in quality faculty' They never come cheap.”

“FLAME will never be a building you come to…but a township that will be a part of you…” Maybe these are tall words coming from an infant institute and only time will tell if they will come true. But if you are the adventurous type, then embark on this journey and enjoy the ride.

Shibani Chattopadhyay

Vital Statistics

WHAT IS IT' A school offering an undergraduate and two postgraduate degrees.

 WHAT COURSES ARE OFFERED' A four-year undergraduate degree, a two-year MBA and an MBA in mass media.

 WHERE TO STAY' It’s residential.

 HOW EXPENSIVE IS IT' Rs 3.62 lakh pa for undergraduate studies and Rs 5.52 lakh pa for postgraduate studies.

 WHERE IS IT' 32, “Kedar”, Yashwant Ghadge Nagar Range Hills Corner, Pune-411007; tel: 020-25530749. E-mail: [email protected]

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