Need to revamp public education in India: Azim Premji

Underlining the need of improving the quality of primary education in public education system, philanthropist Dr Azim Premji who is the chairman of Wipro Technologies Limited, opined that public education in India needed to undergo a change in order to help more than 80 percent children, mostly in villages, who opt to study in the state-run schools.

Delivering a centenary talk on ‘Improving School Education in India,’ as part of the University of Mysore’s centenary celebrations, Dr Premji maintained that the government should focus on improving the quality of primary education and imparting education which could enable the growth and development of children in multiple dimensions.

“A good education will be able to fulfil and expand a child’s potential to make him an active and contributing citizen of the country and the world. A child’s multiple dimensional development includes not just cognitive but also physical, social and emotional development,” he said, adding, “Imparting good education at primary level is not about rote memory and getting good grades, it’s about encouraging the children to think critically, discuss, question and challenge and about developing them into good human beings who are informed enough to make ethical decisions.”

Dr Premji stressed on the improvement of quality of teaching of the teachers for, he said, the comprehensive development of a child was based on the good quality of teachers. “It is an international experience that a good teacher teaches well and help student utilise his or her potential to the utmost,” he said.

Expressing his dissatisfaction over complete lack of availability of teaching talent in the country, Dr Premji said that his 10 years of experience in the field of primary education reveal to him the apathy teaching quality of the teachers. “We have more than 16,000 teaching colleges in the country with good infrastructures but majority of them have turned out to be parking lots for the staff. Less than 1/3 of the lecturers and professors falls below the requirement and aren’t well trained to discharge their duties,” he said and added, “Institute like Regional Institute of Education, Mysuru, is doing good in producing quality teachers.”

He further stressed on improving the teaching education system including BEd and DEd colleges as many colleges does not insist on students on attending lectures and give away degrees at the end of the course which is unfortunate.

He also underlined the fundamental points in delivering good education saying: “All of us including the governments need to re-affirm the importance of quality public education as public education is the foundation for democracy. Most developed countries have invested in building strong public education system. Contrary, the primary education is given less stress in developed and emerging countries and the trend is same in India. Our aim should not be to create parallel system of private schools but to revamp and upgrade the public education. It is imperative that we revise our education system as to help the disadvantage children,” he said.

Earlier, Dr Premji was conferred with honorary doctorate by former Chief Justice of Jammu and Kashmir High Court, Justice B A Khan. Stamps and coins bearing the image of UoM were released on the occasion.

‘Mysuru great example of good education’

Dr Azim Premji said that Mysuru is the great example of what education can do.

“The city is routinely recognised as the best city in the country on all fronts. Scope of growth, further expansion, culture, quality of life is great example. One of the key reasons is that the city has been a pioneer in education,” he said.

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