The Azim Premji University provides adequate field work orientation for its students.

New universities that are established usually cater to the “masses” by offering courses that are popular and have a large number of takers. But Azim Premji University focussed on the social sector — on improving school education, on creating ‘education professionals’ for the sector. Azim Premji University (APU) was established with a belief that for India’s social development, “school education is the bedrock of it all.”

Elaborating on the intent of the varsity, S. Giridhar, Registrar and Chief Operating Officer, APU, told Education Plus: “The Azim Premji Foundation’s motto is to work towards a just, equitable, humane and sustainable society in India. The foundation worked in formal partnership with the government and contributed to primary school education. A few years later, we realised that we needed to develop ‘education professionals’ — create fresh talent and also look at the existing talent.”

The university, which was established two years ago in Bangalore. APU offers two master’s programmes — Master of Arts (MA) in Education and Master of Arts in Development. The MA in Education is a course aimed at helping individuals “develop into reflective education professionals with a conscious alignment towards humanitarian and social concerns.” On the other hand, the MA in development programme aims to provide students with a sound grounding in core areas of development theory. At the end of the two-year postgraduate programmes, students can look forward to a variety of roles in organisations engaged in grass-roots level work, academia, policy think-tanks, politics, government programmes, multilateral agencies, corporate social responsibility functions of companies, funding organisations, social entrepreneurship and media, according to the varsity. Azim Premji Foundation itself plans to recruit over 3,000 people over the next five years, for which students in the final semester of their programme at the Azim Premji University will be considered.