There are four essential components to our work:
Develop a critical mass of people with vision, competence and deep motivation to engage in social action. This includes developing fresh talent (the Azim Premji University has been set up for this purpose) and building capacity in the existing talent (through District Institutes).
Establish strong field-level institutions in the most disadvantaged districts of India. The field institutes create avenues for the continuing professional development of teachers and education officials. They also work to reform school curriculum, teacher-education curriculum and related issues of education policy.
Create knowledge and evidence through research to address the challenges in education and development in the Indian context. In many of the states, the Foundation is engaged in large scale educational research work that will create new knowledge and also support evidence based policy making.
Building Social Pressure
Strong networking, advocacy and communications act as a multiplier to facilitate change. We engage with the state and central governments, with the community, NGOs and industry to build positive social pressure for change.
A number of key principles inform our strategy and approach.
- Education and other allied domains
Education is a powerful vehicle for social change and it is the primary focus of our work. It also has a large positive multiplier effect on other aspects of human life. Related domains like health, nutrition, livelihoods, governance and ecology have a critical bearing on education. However, we realize that it is not possible for a single organization to work with equal intensity and focus in all these areas and we therefore we calibrate our efforts based on the nature of the specific challenges, our own capabilities and our ability to work with partners and extended resources.
- Operating organization
We are both an Operating and Grant making organization. The Philanthropy makes grants.
- At Scale
All our work is aimed at creating large scale impact either directly or indirectly. We believe that in a large, complex and diverse country like India, small-scale, intense work in narrow pockets is unlikely to create any significant impact on the system.
- Partnership with Government
We seek systemic change and work primarily for India’s large underprivileged and marginalized population. Such system wide change which touches the large underprivileged population of India is possible only by working in close partnership with the government. However, we seek to supplement the work of the government and not substitute it.
- Integrate theory and practice
Our “academia” and “practice” teams work together synergistically. While knowledge through research is critical it must be deeply rooted in practical ground realities, for applicability.
Our values describe our cultural ethos creating an ethically strong organization. Our four values are:
- Contribute to social change
- Ownership for significant lasting impact
- Treat each person with respect
- Act with unyielding integrity and courage