It is well known that there is a two-way relationship between education and development. On the one hand, social and economic status of people influences their use of education. This is evident from that there are socioeconomic determinants of enrollment, retention, attendance and learning achievements. Hence there may be a need for actions in the domain of social or human development to achieve educational goals such as ‘quality schooling for all’. On the other hand, it is somewhat obvious that education contributes not only towards individual’s development but also societal development. However, it is not so obvious when we think about the nature of this development. Does education contribute to lesser inequality (of different dimensions) or more sustainable development? Does education contribute to the deepening of the democratization (and improved governance) in a country? There is a sizable literature attempting to answer these questions. It is important for both education and development professionals to have an exposure to this material.
Such a course is much more important for Azim Premji University for a number of reasons. As a university, we wish to have strong linkage with the field practice of Azim Premji Foundation (APF) which is currently focused on improving school education in those districts which are also at the lower levels of development (say in terms of human development indicators). The relationship between development and education has to inform the integrated actions that APF carries out in these areas. We started two master’s programs – one on development and the other on education – with an explicit understanding of the inter-linkages between them. A number of students of who pass out of both MA Development and MA Education take up jobs in APF field operations or other NGOs which attempt to improve educational outcomes. Hence a course of this nature is
important for at least a subset of our students.