THE entrepreneur behind the Stansfield Group considers help ing students who slip and fall along the road to a tertiary qual ification as a key mission of the education company he founded. "We want to change the mindsets of those who view peo ple only through their O and A-level grades. Those people who did not do well in A levels and subsequently took up a degree course via a private insti- tution should be looked upon highly as they have the perseverance and determination to succeed after falling," said Mr Kannappan Chettiar, the founder and chief learning officer of the Stansfield Group, in a recent interview with TODAY.Mr Chettiar is one of Singapore's most successful private degree and language educators, having built up Stansfield into an entity serving 4,000 students at its various institutions. The group chalked up a net profit of $12 million last year and has managed to maintain an annual growth of 25 per cent every year since it started oper- ations in 1993.Stansfield's courses range from O and A-level courses to degree courses from the Univer sity of London (UOL) Stansfield College and the Singapore Institute of Commerce.

Going forward, Mr Chettiar, a winner of the Rotary-Asme top 10 Entrepreneur of the Year in 2002, said that the Stansfield Group is looking further afield. He aims to promote a concept he calls "borderless education", where Stansfield College - will allow students to apply for exchange programmes in three colleges situated in India, China and Singapore. This will commence next month, when a Stansfield College campus will be built in Chennai, India, followed by another one in Beijing next year. This enables students to gain a holistic academic experience and cultural involvement in dif- ferent countries. Indeed, foreign students now account for 1,500 of the 4,000 students currently enrolled in Stansfield institutions. About 60 per cent of the students are from China, while the rest are from India and Vietnam. "The plan is to use Singapore as a base and uphold it as a model for overseas students. The values of an honest, open government and transparency will be inculcated in law and business students," he explained. The exchange programme will come as a total package complete with airfare and hostel accommodation. China and India are the tar- get countries as they have high unemployment rates and are the two most populous countries in the world, Mr Chettiar noted. Stansfield is able to add value by giving overseas students exposure to Singapore at an affordable price, he said. A degree programme in London would set a student back by about $60,000 to $90,000, but studying for a UOL degree here would cost only $21,000.

Singapore as a role model

overseas students have much to learn , say stansfield group founder