Azim Premji is India's Bill Gates: Forbes
Software tycoon Azim Premji plans to set up a world-class university to train teachers who will fan out to the teacher training institutes in India's 600 districts.
"It will be a world-class university with a large endowment," 64-year-old Premji told Forbes magazine noting, "Most of these institutes are a complete mess with the teachers leading the classes worse than the teachers that come to get trained."
The proposed university to upgrade teaching methods will be the latest venture of Azim Premji Foundation that focuses on education, improving standards in India by training teachers and, among other things, funding model schools.
Started nine years ago and funded solely by Premji, the foundation was given stock valued at "much more than" Rs 450 crore or roughly $101 million estimated by a newspaper.
Much like Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Premji also plans to give away most of his money during his lifetime, the US business magazine revealed.
"Even if I was to give my children a small part of my wealth, it would be more than they can digest in many lifetimes," he said by way of explaining.
For Premji, Forbes said, philanthropy boils down to a simple philosophy: "To those to whom much is given, much has to be given back."
If the Indian software billionaire, who ranks No. 28 among the richest people in the world with $17 billion to his name, winds up giving away most of his money to charity, he would be a rare breed among Asian entrepreneurs who have tended to pass their wealth onto their children rather than putting it to philanthropic use, it said.
The efforts of Premji's foundation are separate from the philanthropic initiatives Wipro pursues, Forbes noted.
Some of these initiatives, such as Mission 10X, which is focused on making India's engineering students more employable in the information technology industry, clearly dovetail with Wipro's business interests.
Others, such as Wipro Cares, match contributions from employees and provide disaster relief, lending a hand after the earthquake in Gujarat or the floods in Orissa, for instance.
Both the foundation's and Wipro's philanthropic efforts, according to the US business magazine, share a common philosophy: They seek to offer the recipients of aid an ownership stake by often requiring them to pick up some of the tab.