Azim Premji University to begin Programs from 2011

Karnataka’s first private university to be set up under a special legislative Act – Azim Premji University – is all set to begin offering its postgraduate programs from the academic year 2011 – 12.

The university campus, which is taking shape on 75 acres of land on Sarjapur Road, close to the Wipro office on the outskirts of Bangalore, will kickstart its academic activities with three programs in Education, Development and Teacher Education.

All three programs, leading to a master’s degree, are for a duration of two years. “We intend to admit around 200 students in the first year for all the postgraduate programs put together.

During the next three to four years, we propose to scale up our admission to around 1,500 students,” Chief Executive Officer of Azim Premji Foundation Anurag Behar said.

Admissions for the three programs will be announced soon and applications will be invited from eligible graduates from across the country.

“All our programs will be residential and a fee will be fixed. But, inability to pay the fees will not be a reason to exclude candidates. We will arrange for scholarships,” Mr. Behar said.

Though the minimum eligibility for the programs is graduation, a screening procedure will be conducted before admitting students to assess their experience and commitment. “No deserving student will be denied admission,” he added.

Set up under the aegis of Azim Premji Foundation, a not – for – profit organisation, the Azim Premji University will offer, when fully functional, a range of other educational programs including year – long specialist degree program for teacher educators, M.Phil and Ph.D. and a four – year – long teacher education program (elementary) for II PUC – passed students.

The Foundation, since its inception in 2001, has been working in the area of elementary education with a view to bringing about systemic change in India’s 1.3 million government – run schools.

The Foundation also focuses on working in rural areas, where a majority of these schools exist. The programs of the Foundation had already touched over 25,000 schools and over 2.5 million children.

The key focus of the university is to prepare a large number of committed education and development professionals, who can significantly contribute to meeting the needs of the country.

The three programs on offer are aimed at creating professionals in their respective fields.

Master’s in Education

This program aims at developing education professionals in areas other than teaching and teacher education.

Such professionals, who include education administrators, curriculum designers, policy specialists and researchers, can create a positive impact in the sector, says the university.

The M.A. (Education) program will therefore not be a teacher education program, but will seek to empower a new generation of men and women with the expertise and diversity of skills to be actively engaged with issues in education.

Master’s in Development

This course is designed as a “development action” course with an emphasis on leveraging the body of knowledge around theories in development and alternative action strategies for development outcomes.

Graduates of this course could be absorbed into Azim Premji Foundation – supported District Resource Centres and schools, government field offices, other civil society organisations, foundations and CSR departments of businesses.

“We also expect some of our students to become social entrepreneurs,” say officials of the university.

Master’s in Teacher Education

In keeping with the Foundation’s vision of a just, humane, equitable and sustainable society, the two – year program aims at preparing competent and caring teachers with the necessary orientation to work with children from the marginalised sections of the society.

It is envisaged as a rigorous teacher professional development program, which will be transformative with the goal of creating change agents in the field of education.

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