Karnataka nod for Premji Foundation to set up varsity

June 19th, 2009 - 12:36 am ICT by IANS  

Bangalore, June 18 (IANS) The Azim Premji Foundation (APF) of Wipro chairman Azim Premji will soon be able to set up a private university in Karnataka, the state’s first, with the cabinet approving a bill to facilitate it, Parliamentary Affairs Minister S. Suresh Kumar said Thursday.
“The bill will be introduced in the monsoon session of the legislative assembly next month to facilitate the university. The foundation will provide the statutory endowment fund of Rs.250 million (Rs.25 crore),” Kumar told reporters here.

Unlike regular universities, the APF university will train professional teachers and non-teaching staff in education and skill development for imparting quality teaching to students from primary to high school.

“The self-financed university will undertake teaching, training and research and development (R&D) in elementary and secondary education, education management and education policy,” Kumar said.

Though the foundation is yet to approach the government for the university’s location, Kumar said it could be established in any region in the state and open branches in other parts of the country.

“The proposed private university can be headquartered in any cityown across the state, with right to set up branches in other states,” Kumar noted.

According to an official of the state higher education department, the estimated investment would be about Rs.2 billion (Rs.200 crore), including the endowment fund of Rs.250 million. The varsity can also impart training through distance learning or through correspondence course.

“The proposal was put up for cabinet approval after Premji made a presentation to the state government recently on the need for and benefits of such a university in building faculty pool and human capital to improve the quality of education and expand capacity,” the official told IANS on phone but declined to be named.

Premji and his foundation officials were not accessible to comment or share details on the proposed university.

Another state official said Premji had also expressed interest in setting up a dedicated engineering college at Karwar in Uttara Kannada, about 550 km from here, for grooming talent in different fields of engineering and absorbing them in his $5-billion global software major.

The not-for-profit foundation was set up in 2001 in India’s tech hub by Wipro czar with a vision to significantly contribute to achieve quality universal education that facilitates a just, equitable and humane society.

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