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Azim Premji is India’s Bill Gates – Forbes

Washington: India’s software tycoon Azim Premji plans to set up a world-class university to train teachers who will fan out to the teacher training institutes in India’s 600 districts.

“It will be a world-class university with a large endowment,” 64-year-old Premji told Forbes magazine noting, “Most of these institutes are a complete mess with the teachers leading the classes worse than the teachers that come to get trained.”

The proposed university to upgrade teaching methods will be the latest venture of Azim Premji Foundation that focuses on education, improving standards in India by training teachers and, among other things, funding model schools.

Started nine years ago and funded solely by Premji, the foundation was given stock valued at “much more than” Rs 450 crore or roughly $101 million estimated by a newspaper.

Much like Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Premji also plans to give away most of his money during his lifetime, the US business magazine revealed.

“Even if I was to give my children a small part of my wealth, it would be more than they can digest in many lifetimes,” he said by way of explaining.

For Premji, Forbes said philanthropy boils down to a simple philosophy: “To those to whom much is given, much has to be given back.”

If the Indian software billionaire, who ranks No. 28 among the richest people in the world with $17 billion to his name, winds up giving away most of hismoney to charity, he would be a rare breed among Asian entrepreneurs who have tended to pass their wealth onto their children rather than putting it to philanthropic use, it said.

The efforts of Premji’s foundation are separate from the philanthropic initiatives Wipro pursues, Forbes noted.

Some of these initiatives, such as Mission 10X, which is focused on making India’s engineering students more employable in the information technology industry, clearly dovetail with Wipro’s business interests.

Others, such as Wipro Cares, match contributions from employees and provide disaster relief, lending a hand after the earthquake in Gujarat or the floods in Orissa, for instance.

Both the foundation’s and Wipro’s philanthropic efforts, according to the US business magazine, share a common philosophy: They seek to offer the recipients of aid an ownership stake by often requiring them to pick up some of the tab

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Filed under: Educational News, , ,

Pranab favours establishing smaller universities

Shimla: Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday advocated the need for establishing smaller universities which were “easier to manage” and would serve to capture “synergies between teaching and research”.

“In line with the recommendations of the National Knowledge Commission, I am in favour of establishing smaller universities which are responsive to change and easier to manage. It’s only thus that the universities would become the hub of research to capture synergies between teaching and research that mutually enrich each other,” he said, addressing the 17th convocation of the Himachal Pradesh University here.

Mukherjee was participating in the convocation for the second time – but after a gap of 27 years. The last time he was the chief guest at the convocation function here was in 1982.

Noting that India was a vast country with a population of more than 100 crore, he said 65 percent of the population is below the age of 30 and this could be “both an asset and a threat”.

“The daunting task before us the governments – central and state – is to turn this population into an asset through the instrumentality of education. However, our education has to be such as does not promote the standard of living alone but also the standard of life,” Mukherjee said.

He said a number of steps have been taken by the central government, such as emphasis on human resource development and initiating a national skill development mission to create skills among youth which are commensurate with the requirements of the industry.

Meanwhile, the recommendations of the National Knowledge Commission report were being implemented by the state governments and institutions of higher education, he added.

The minister praised girl students for outnumbering the male counterparts in securing merit in various disciplines.

“This is delightful experience that the girls have outnumbered their male counterparts in receiving medals and degrees. I hope rest of the country will follow the trend established byHimachal Pradesh University.”

Degrees were awarded to 184 students on the occasion.

Himachal Pradesh Governor Prabha Rau and Education Minister I.D. Dhiman were present on the occasion. Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal was not present as he is on a visit to Israel. IANS

Filed under: Educational News, ,

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