In a move that could have far-reaching impacts on higher education, the state cabinet on Thursday approved the proposal from Azeem Premji Foundation for setting up Karnataka’s first private university that will cater exclusively for raising the quality of teaching.
A Bill making way for setting up the university will be presented in the next session of the State legislature.
The proposed university would be self-financing. The university would mainly focus on research and development in the field of elementary and secondary education, besides trying to improve education management, education policy, education in finance, technology in education in the subjects of science, social science, humanities and management.
In short, the institution would work towards improving the standards of teaching there by raising the quality of overall education in the country, Law Minister Suresh Kumar said.
“Preparing the teachers for various levels of education –– from primary to university level –– will be its main focus,” the minister said.
The Premji Foundation will deposit a Rs25-crore statutory Endowment Fund which could be impounded by the government in the event of failure of the proposed university to fulfil its obligations.
Defending the decision, Suresh Kumar and higher education minister Aravind Limbavali said, “We have not approved any proposal from people with an intention of setting up educational institutions to make money. Premji had approached the state government with a genuine concern to raise the quality of education in general and teachers in particular with a vision to meet the future human resources needs.”
The foundation will set up regional centres across the country and also abroad with permission from state government.
After receiving the government’s nod, an elated Dileep Ranjekar, CEO of Azim Premji Foundation, said: “This is going to be a huge project as we are planning to introduce multiple courses with a large infrastructure. Initially, we will begin with a post graduate programme which will be completely different from the current B Ed or M Ed programmes. We will also introduce short-term courses for working professionals.”