“India should invest at least 4% to 6% of our GDP in education”, says Azim Premji

September 23, 2014

IT czar Azim Premji was speaking at the second annual convocation of the Azim Premji University (APU) in Bangalore on Monday. He had a clear grading for the country's teachers. He said that out of around 6 million teachers, 20% are not sincere and committed, 60% are willing to learn, and the remaining 20% are deeply committed. He was speaking at the second annual convocation of the Azim Premji University (APU) here on Monday.

Premji, chancellor of the university, extolled students to hit the rural areas to work for the development of the education sector. There's a need for deeply committed teachers. At times, government schools in rural areas are better than private schools, said Premji.

"Improving public education is the responsibility of the government and we are also working in collaboration with various state governments. Transforming education is a very complex task, given the diversity of our country, compounded by issues of socio-economic deprivation and other ground realities. Citizens should also help the government," he said.

Pointing to other issues in the education system, he said there's an acute lack of quality higher education which can prepare people to work in the field of education and the social sector. India is investing only 3% of its GDP in education, while countries like Finland invest 8% of the GDP. "We have to invest at least 4% to 6% of our GDP," said Premji.

Applauding the graduates of APU, Premji said, "70% of the graduates from the first batch of APU are working with NGOs in rural areas and they are not attracted to high salaries in the city."

APU's convocation is unique. The university doesn't have a system of announcing toppers and presenting gold medals. Graduates don't even dress up in gowns; they are in casual attire and a shawl. The varsity conferred degrees to 125 Masters in Education and Masters in Development students.

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