Sunday, October 30, 2011

2 free schools a district

The Azim Premji foundation is about to start an initiative that aims to start 2 free schools per district of India by 2025. Thats 1300 schools by 2025. This is the year 2011. In 15 odd years, each district of the country will be covered. This is a laudable initiative. Think about it. While the government is launching cheap tablets - the crying need is not tablets, but schools. In the 21st century.

Imagine that this is the year 1947 or even 1950. In 15 odd years - by 1965, all our districts would have been covered by a network of quality schools. And it is ironical that all these years of socialist talk have not managed to get us a basic school system that works.

So, somewhere in the 21st century, a many who runs a company in a much derided industry (the much reviled IT which has given affluence and dreams to many Indians) operating in many parts of the world opens his pockets to build schools for the nation. The same thing that our much highly held in esteem leaders could have ensured 50 years ago.

But pray how the man made his money? By the very forces our future prime minister opposes. Globalization. Yes. It is globalization that enabled Azim Premji to make money to spend for Indias future. Not socialism. Not selling soaps and oils in socialist India (which was what his company did before getting into IT.)

There is no greater force in nature than mans entrepreneurial nature. And let us not curb it. Let us make it easier for people to build companies, sell ideas and open up the country by de-licensing and less rules.

Let a thousand Wipros and a thousand more Premji foundations rule. They do much better than foundations launched in the name of politicians, dynastic or otherwise.Thank you Premji Sahab!

(Before we close - spend a moment on the linked report. A sentence in it pissed me off. "If the idea succeeds, it could shame India's dysfunctional public education system - and perhaps inspire other wealthy tycoons to look beyond their personal status-building." Sigh. Surely, many tycoons and politicians will be ready to open their pockets on reading it.)

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