This morning, I started my day reading Oray Egin’s wonderful article from yesterday, and to be honest, I was very jealous.
I would love for you to read it, but if I had to summarize it, knowing that it is not my place, he wrote about the ongoing housing problems facing students, the inadequacy of the universities, the inadequacy of the academicians, the importance and necessity of vocational education, though he doesn’t use this word, and finally, an issue I have always advocated, namely how university education is not the only and compulsory education option in an individual’s life.
After talking about bread and milk for a bit, he goes on to talk about cheese and offers a wonderful “trio” example, which I will aim to expand with reference to his whole article, and again with his permission.
The French peasant whose family has been making cheese for the past five generations…
– He is not ashamed of his work (Neither he nor his family is obsessed with a university degree.)
– He is honored by being rewarded for the product he creates (This also sets a role model and encourages others to do so.)
– Plus, he makes good money.
And let me add a fourth one; he is happy and peaceful.
This topic of ‘student accommodation’, which is also the title of his article, is a topic that I have been thinking about for a very long time.
I am the owner of MSA.
I own a private vocational school that I think is very good.
My students pay their fees and receive their education.
Occasionally there are individuals who think we are expensive, but I invite them over so that they can understand that we are not like other schools and that our expenses are very different from other regular schools.
Let me explain.
In our school, there are 100 refrigerators, 80 ovens, 230 cooking equipment, 700 countertop equipment, 15 industrial dishwashers, 8 cold rooms, 110 ventilation and air conditioning machines on the roof and side walls, in addition to the dozens of different appliances that use electricity, gas and water. Please imagine the amounts of consumption.
At our school, there are 35 classrooms, 1 restaurant and 2 shops that are in constant operation, 7 days a week, morning, noon, evening, night and weekend, and thus there are permanent cleaning jobs for 50 people. Please think about the labor force required and the amounts of consumption.
At our school, nearly 1,000 students, over 30 MSA instructors and dozens of guest instructors cook, make coffee and mixology in those 35 classrooms every single day. Food is served to more than 300 people in our cafeteria every day. Please think about the food and beverage material expenses, especially meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruits, which are of the highest quality.
Moreover, if you take into account that the tuition rates of similar good schools abroad are at the level of 30 thousand, 40 thousand, 50 thousand, 60 thousand dollars, I guess you would appreciate (be surprised) that a very good (much better) school near you maintains a tuition rate of 5 thousand dollars, all thanks to its great work and of course its sponsors.
Look, my goal here is not to promote what a good school we are, and how much our tuition is; those who know the school already do, and who want to learn with us are already coming.
My aim is to move on to a completely different topic.
At MSA, our work is education; vocational training.
The industry we are in is education. Although most people think we are in the food and beverage industry, we are in the education business with food and beverage as our focus.
As such, we make money through education.
I have specifically written all the above details regarding overheads and costs to draw your attention, and to help you understand me a little bit better.
Now let me move on to that particular topic that I actually want to talk about.
Of course we make money. Nearly 1000 people, including our colleagues and their families live off of this school. (Every year, 2,000 students learn to earn a living for themselves and their families.)
But let me reiterate, we, as MSA, only earn money through education; we do not have additional businesses and side incomes. I don’t think that makes sense either. We don’t require payments for the books, the aprons, the jackets, the knives or anything else. Students focus only on their education. I don’t think they should have any other concerns.
As for me, of course I have to earn money, of course I have to get paid for my work, but I also have to love what I do and do it in the best, most passionate way possible.
For as long as I can remember, my rationale has been ‘if I ran a toilet, I would have the most beautiful toilet in the world, and everyone would come to my toilet and line up to do their business’.
As such, I always think that it is not that I follow money, but that money follows me.
Now let me talk about the crux of the matter.
I believe that every school should have private accommodation for its students.
Just as it should have a library, a canteen or a toilet; one of the conditions for it to be a school is for it ‘to provide shelter for its own students’.
Just as the conditions for being a bank or being a hospital are varied and sometimes difficult, the conditions for being considered a school ‘should not be easy’ either in my opinion.
A system of accommodation with no motivation or expectation of making money, a structure that only prices its expenses, is exclusive to its own students, and that does not compromise on any of these issues.
The school should say, ‘Because I already make money from education’.
Let me try to explain through simple (and absurd) examples.
There are schools without libraries and schools with libraries. Gyms and sports facilities are the same. Do these schools make money from the libraries or the sports facilities? No. But the quality of a school’s library is one of the dozens of ‘values’ that increase the preference rate of the school.
What if schools offered accommodation, and:
– Only offered it to its own students without ever compromising on this rule,
– Didn’t see this as potential side income since it already makes money from education, which is the school’s core responsibility,
– The opportunity of accommodation was one of the values of the school, just like the library and the gym.
Wouldn’t it be nice?
That way, every school would have nice dormitories to live in under humane conditions, and after deducting the general expenses, investment and repair costs, there would be a price advantage of almost 35-40 percent for students under today’s conditions.
Well-equipped graduates speak for the success of a school, right?
We should not forget that a school that can provide this opportunity to its students and host its students in its own dormitory throughout the education process will provide its students with the comfort where they can focus on their education alone, and not worry about where they will stay that night.
As an organic extension of the school, the dormitory will make its students feel the spirit and the ethos of a school during their stay, and will provide them with the opportunity to become one big family under its roof.
For that reason, Koç and Bosphorus University are special.
Staying in a dormitory in accordance with the spirit that the school instills in its students will also teach students to get to know/support each other before moving onto working life. And who knows, maybe even enable them to establish a joint business in the future. Perhaps even before they graduate.
A school can support its students even outside of their classrooms with a number of facilities that support their education via their accommodation facilities.
The possibilities are endless.
Is it possible in a society (world) that addresses everything with an attitude that goes ‘you need to make money’?
Are there any schools that do it?
Can it be done for MSA?
I will work on it over and over again.