Azim Premji University was established in Karnataka by the Azim Premji University Act 2010 as a not-for-profit University and is recognized by The University Grants Commission (UGC) under Section 2F.
The beginnings of the University are in the learning and experience of a decade of work in elementary education by the Azim Premji Foundation. The University was founded as one of the key responses to the constraints and challenges that the Foundation encountered both within and in the environment, and as part of a larger strategy to contribute to the Education and Development sectors in the country.
Two key principles guide the process of the University’s evolution.
Firstly, the University has a clearly stated social purpose. As an institution, it exists to make significant contributions through education towards the building of a just, equitable, humane and sustainable society. This is an explicit commitment to the idea that education contributes to social change. At the same time, this commitment to a specific value orientation is not to be interpreted as a narrowly utilitarian view of the University. Education’s impact on society is through the changes in values and action that thinking, autonomous individuals are capable of.
Secondly, the University is part of the Foundation and integral to its vision. The synergy from the close working of the students and faculty with the Foundation's field units will inform and enrich the programmes at the University and the field alike. The members of the Foundation as a whole have the challenging task of defining an organizational culture and processes of interaction that realise the full potential of this linkage.
It should be clear from the above that Azim Premji University is unusual in the way it is conceived and organized. We profess liberal and ‘humanistic’ values but at the same time define our intent unambiguously in the context of India’s social and political development. We consider independence and excellence in research to be critical, but do not see the possibility of sharply separating knowledge from its purposes and consequences. We are not narrowly utilitarian in our orientation, but at the same time are deeply mindful of the consequences of our work.