Azim Premji University (APU), a visionary venture into the field of Education and Social Development is set to commence operations starting July 2011. The university is set up with an aim for “actively connecting the world of higher education to the betterment of the lives of the disadvantaged in India.“ [Azim Premji University Website].
Two key focus areas of the University are to:
- Prepare a large number of committed education and development professionals who can significantly contribute to meeting the needs of the country.
- Build new knowledge in the areas of education and development through establishing strong links between theory and practice.
Towards skill development in education and social development sector, APU
- offers full-time Master’s degree programs in Education, Teacher’s training and Development sectors for under-graduates.A quick summary of the courses would be posted following this post. Detailed information on course content and eligibility criteria is available in their webpage
- a University Resource Center (URC) that would offer education programs for professionals in the education sector from government, private, civil society and private institutions in the following areas.
- Content Creation: A continuous set of programs for catering to these audiences such as Executive Development programs for senior government officials, school leadership programs for teachers/teacher educator etc.
- Capacity Building: This will be done through Continuing Education programs which will be conducted by URC specialists. The programs will be based on the field needs for individuals/groups identified by the District Resource Centers and other practice units.
- Consulting: The URC will provide professional advice to clients and help clients find and implement solutions in areas of expertise including education leadership and management, academics and pedagogy, research, quality and community empowerment.
- a Research Center (RC) to understand the dynamics of education, people, society and feed the data into education programs of the university, Azim Premji Foundation’s initiatives, stakeholders and the society at large
The goals of the Centre will be to:
- Conduct research in the Education and Developmental areas, that actively seeks answers to deepen our understanding of people and societies. Research is a medium to widen awareness of issues beyond the here and now.
- Present findings and promote knowledge-based processes for decision-making among all stakeholders. Research should inform positions on social change and action.
- Provide research skills and build capacity for structured, systematic ways of thinking within Azim Premji University and Azim Premji Foundation and among communities and partner organizations we work with.
- Serve as a repository of existing knowledge sources, and be recognized as an affordable and easily accessible source for knowledge products.
- an Assessment and Development Center (ADC) that helps institutions that seek help in assessment. To quote from the university”s website. “This would include assessment for development of Individuals (students, teachers, education administrators), Institutions (schools, colleges and other institutes) and Systems.”
As known very well, public education system in India has a lot to be desired both in terms of quality and reach. An earlier article in ThinkChange India about PAISA project conducted by Accountability Initiative on Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan highlights a few of the root-causes. At this juncture, as the courses, research opportunities and connection between academia and industry matures due to efforts ventures as this by APU, there is lot of scope of the education and social development sector to improve due to availability of career options, research opportunities and maturity in advocacy to government institutions and NGOs dealing with these sectors.