Education is the most important enabler for growth and equitable development.
We are equally aware that we also have the important and complex task of significantly
improving the quality of our Education, and increasing its reach and capacity. We
have this challenge both at the school and at the Higher Education level.
For over 10 years I have personally been involved
in the world of Education. This involvement has been on three dimensions.
The first is Mission10X. This
has been an excellent model of a “collective” where multiple stakeholders, including
many of you have worked together to improve the quality of Education in our Engineering
colleges, to facilitate and catalyze the employability of engineering graduates.
Thanks to your involvement and the wide support in academia we have reached out
to 10,000 teachers in this program.
The second dimension through which I have seen the world of education is Wipro’s
program in urban schools to improve the quality of Education through Wipro Applying
Thought in Schools. We have reached out to over 1500 schools in this program over
The third dimension is the work of the Azim Premji Foundation. Our programs at the
Foundation have an outreach of over 22,000 rural schools with over 2.5 million children.
Based on our experience of 10 years, we are scaling up the work of the Foundation
very significantly, including establishing a University dedicated to developing
a cadre of committed education sector professionals and to conduct serious research
in the field of Education.
This experience of 10 years has only increased and cemented the commitment that
we have to Education. It has also led me to look at the issues of Education, with
an objective of trying to help in framing solutions.
Let me refer to three broad issues of Education which I think we need to think of,
and work on.
The first is bridging the chasm, the divide between teaching, practice and research.
We certainly need to increase the quantity and quality of our research. Equally,
we need to improve our curriculum. But perhaps even more important is that at a
structural level we need to bridge the chasm that I referred to. Teaching, Research
and Practice must be closely and synergistically linked, like strands of DNA. If
we can do this, we will have a virtuous cycle. This virtuous cycle will really help
in education playing the role in society that it must. It will also drive real Innovation
in our society, which is an absolute must.
The second issue is that of Integrity. Here I am using the word “Integrity” in the
sense of unity of knowledge. Knowledge cannot be artificially divided in to “subjects”
or “departments”. In our complex world today all issues are of multidisciplinary
nature, and our education must respond to that. Let me take an example. One cannot
be a good Power Generation Engineer today without understanding the issues of ecological
sustainability, and issues of sustainability lead you to considering issues of equity
In fact all of us who work in industry or in civil society organizations or in the
government definitely know that the real issues of the world need an integrated
approach of different streams of knowledge. So in my view, integrity of knowledge
must be reflected in our Education curriculum and methods.
The third issue is that of Execution. I know from my experience in business that
one good idea executed well has better results than hundred great ideas executed
poorly. I have seen this in the world of Education too. I think we have an enabling
policy environment and we have good intentions in India. I think that the real devil
is in the execution. This applies both to the government sector and the private
sector. We must execute well, and to my mind this is a management issue. And like
all other issues of execution, there is no simple solution, we just have to go after
it relentlessly and consciously, day after day, issue after issue.
Mission10X was conceived as a quantum innovation project at Wipro. In a sense this
is one effort to bridge the chasm between “practice” and “teaching” that I referred
Launched on Teachers day 5th Sep 2007, the vision of Mission10X has been to enhance
the employability skills of engineering graduates. The method has been by contributing
towards institution building. We have considered Teacher empowerment an important
component of institution building. In the last three years, Mission10X has worked
with over 10,000 engineering teachers as practitioners of innovation, to contribute
towards this institution building.
Our joint success has given us the confidence to launch Phase 2 of Mission10X and
our goal is to create 250 Academic Leaders, deploying 2500 Unified Learning Kits
and empowering 25000 Engineering Faculty across the country over the next 3 years.
I am sure that we will continue to grow from strength to strength in this program.