Azim Premji University (APU) has denied Governor H R Bhardwaj’s allegation that it has ‘failed to accommodate the poor and economically-backward students as it had promised’.
The University said more than 50 per cent of its students are pursuing studies on scholarships.
The Governor, who is also a visitor at the APU, had remarked that he was disappointed with the university for not ‘living up to its promise of helping the poor and economically-weaker students’ while speaking at a programme at Raj Bhavan on Saturday.
Responding to queries from Express on this matter, Azim Premji Foundation CEO Dileep Ranjekar said: “More than 50 per cent of our current sets of students (both first and second batch of students) are on scholarship and it covers their university fee and accommodation. Out of the 85 from our first batch of students, 28 are on 100 per cent scholarship, ensuring completely free education and we are enabling them to pursue education irrespective of financial constraints.”
Set up through the Azim Premji University Act, 2010, the APU started with two Master’s programmes in 2011 - Master of Arts in Education and Master of Arts in Development.
Ranjekar added that the APU has a conscious focus on operating in a scale and addressing the variety of requirements that the country needs. “We admitted 85 students in 2011, 129 in 2012 and expect 300 students in 2013. We are committed to encouraging diversity and inclusion, encouraging students to pursue higher education in spite of a range of economic, social and other concerns. In order to do so, the fee structure has been kept at `48,000 per annum, which is in line with many government institutions.” Over 30 per cent of the students who graduated in 2013 come from a vernacular medium, he said.
When asked to react specifically to the Governor’s remarks, Ranjekar said APU has a clear social purpose. “Our purpose is to achieve a just, humane, equitable and sustainable society. APU aspires to do this through the development of talent and the creation of knowledge which can facilitate significant improvements in education and allied development areas,” he said.