BANGALORE: Karnataka is setting it’s foot into the zone of private varsities with the Azim Premji University. This is an ambitious project of the Azim Premji Foundation aiming to create a pool of education and development professionals and develop teacher educators and academic resource.
The varsity will be set up soon on Sarjapur Road, close to the Wipro office here, spreading across 75 acres. The first academic year will kickstart with three postgraduate programmes – MA in education, MA in teacher education and MA in development studies.
The PG programme in education will consist of various specializations like education policy, teaching learning processes, assessment, curriculum development, inclusive education, preschool education and technology in education, with a focus on creating professionals in the respective fields.
MA in teacher education is meant for those training teachers. Development studies will deal with child and mother health, welfare, livelihood, governance and ecological sustenance issues. Since the courses are meant for people who will be entering the field soon, the curriculum will be a good mix of theory and practice. “This is not meant for the elite. We will give preference to people from rural areas who will go back to work in those places,” said Dileep Ranjekar, CEO, Azim Premji Foundation. “The university is not aimed at creating just graduates or postgraduates. We are creating educationists and social change agents,” he added.
The programmes for educating in-service teachers and administrators will be held at various district resource centres. The university will start with a strength of 150 students which will be increased to 3,500 in five years. The faculty will be people with experience in such subjects, including researchers and also those teaching various disciplines like Social Sciences, Philosophy, Psychology and Development Studies. The vice chancellor will be decided on in the next 4-5 months.
Though admissions are open to all graduates, rural students will be given preference. They will also be trained in English and communication. A three-layered admission process including a written test, group discussion and interview to test the students’ aptitude will be the key to earn an admission here.
Once it begins functioning to its full capacity, the university’s annual budget is likely to touch Rs 200-250 crore.
The Azim Premji University Bill was passed in the both Houses of Karnataka legislature and the final gazette notification approval was issued in October 2010 after the screening committee submitted its report. The Foundation, which was started in 2001, works towards improving quality of education in rural government schools. The country has 13 lakh schools and 55 lakh teachers and this varsity looks at creating new talent and transforming existing faculty to educationists.