Premature - this is how academicians and teacher educators have termed Governor H R Bhardwaj’s remarks on Azim Premji University (APU).
The university was set up through a legislation three years ago.
The first batch of students in two of APU’s current degree programmes — Master of Arts in Education and Development — will graduate this year.
“It is a bit premature on the part of the Governor to say that the university has not done justice to the poor and economically backward sections. It is unfair to expect a new university to do something that successive governments have not been able to do in the last sixty years,” Director of Teacher Foundation Maya Menon said.
According to Menon, the work APU is doing in the field of teacher education indirectly benefits the poor in rural areas.
“As teacher educators, we are trying to improve teachers and teaching in schools, which definitely has an impact on even the most downtrodden child in rural India,” she said.
The Azim Premji University Act, 2010, states the APU wants to “help in spreading the quality education to the needy students.”
M K Sridhar, Professor at Canara Bank School of Management Studies, Bangalore University, believed that APU could have done better. “At the same time, we cannot brush aside the work they have set out to do,” he said.
“It is very premature to judge any university that is as new as APU, where the first batch of students are graduating this year. The kind of faculty they have is phenomenal with diverse backgrounds. They took nearly a year to set things up, get to terms and develop a vision,” he said.
On providing opportunities for the disadvantaged sections of the society, Prof Sridhar said that APU has schemes to support them.
“I know that the university does not refuse admissions to any deserving student.”
However, former Bangalore University Vice-Chancellor K Siddappa concurred with the Governor.
“We cannot deny the fact that the university has received a good name, but I support the Governor’s statement as we don’t know whether APU’s admissions are really helping the disadvantaged sections,” he said.