Bharti Airtel is writing a fresh philanthropic code. The Bharti family has vowed to hand over Rs. 7000 crores ($1.1 billion) to the Bharti Foundation. The whopping amount will be used to kick-start a free university for the children from poor communities. The Bhartis’ contribution includes a 3 percent stake in their telecom operator Bharti Airtel.
What Students Will Learn
To be named “The Satya Bharti University for Science and Technology”–the university will have a strong focus on artificial intelligence, robotics, virtual reality and the internet of things.
What’s The Motive
Education is a common cause for many millionaires and billionaires. But the Bhartis are going beyond the generous, well-trod routes of scholarships or even funding whole departments and building libraries. Instead, they’re dedicated to establishing an entire non-profit institution of higher learning targeting India’s large underprivileged class. The plan helps bring attention to the woeful state of the country’s education system, a top complaint of the local financial elite. Their endeavour also very publicly embraces innovations some worry will subsume jobs for India’s low-cost labour force. A study published last year by the World Bank estimates almost 70 per cent of India’s jobs are threatened by automation.
World-changing developments like virtual reality are to be taught at the envisioned university, and degrees offered in electrical engineering. Partnerships with Apple, SoftBank and other companies may be in the cards, too. That sends a clear message of hope that technology can transform lives, and create new fortunes for the future.