How we work

  • Geetika Bhandari
    Barmer District Institute

    As part of the assessment team, I have the opportunity to interact with teachers and students from different districts across India. It has helped in shaping my perspectives on education and deepened my understanding of issues faced by teachers. This in turn has only strengthened my belief in the Foundation’s vision and my resolve to continue to work in this field.

  • Paresh Kumar Pandya
    Leader, Rajsamand District Institute

    I like the work culture of the Foundation where you have the freedom to explore within a large well-defined scope. It is a great opportunity to work with people from different domains. Here I have an opportunity to work and grow as interacting with the teachers and leading our team requires me to be constantly updated on the field of education.

  • Madhav Krishna
    Talent Partner-Field, Azim Premji Foundation

    Born and brought up in the hills of Uttarakhand, I always wanted to work here and to have the opportunity to be working for such a cause here, is almost like a dream. What has been a constant motivator for me over the past 5-6 years in the Foundation is the feeling of being able to do something new every day, the value given to ideas and the space available for dialogue. Individuals and their thoughts are greatly valued here, which is one of the most beautiful things about this organization.

  • Shubha HK
    Manager- Education for the Children of Migrant Labour (ECML)

    I am faced with challenges every day and at the same time I have a lot of freedom, opportunity and timely guidance to address them. I have plenty of opportunities to explore, to express, to experiment, to learn, to know, to enjoy. Every day brings a new lesson about working with children and parents of the migrant community at large. I continue to learn through this experience.

  • Harish Shah
    Head, Infrastructure Management Function

    While various aspects of my job are more or less similar to the corporate world, there is immense peace and satisfaction that I am able to use my experience and skills to indirectly contribute to a better education for children.

  • Sowmya N
    Mandya District Institute

    What I appreciate most about the organisation is that every employee is required to spend 25% of his/her time in self capacity building to contribute in a more effective manner in the field. There is an opportunity for everyone to learn and grow.

There are four essential components to our work:

Developing Talent

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).

Developing Institutions

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.

Developing Knowledge

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.

Operating Principles

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 an operating organization and not a funding organization. The District Institutes are the operating/ implementing arm of the organization.
  • 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 five values are:

  • Catalyze social change with passion
  • Act with integrity and courage
  • Ensure intense commitment to quality
  • Be deeply reflective and rational
  • Be open and caring