grants $2 mln for education research in India

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New York, Jan 20 (UNI), an arm of Internet search engine Google, has awarded a two million dollar grant to Pratham, a Texas-based Indian-American social body that has been focusing on developing elementary education in India.

''The grant will support an independent institute to conduct the Nationwide Annual Status of Education Report as well as large-scale assessments in the education sector,'' a statement from Pratham said, adding that the ultimate goal was to expand these types of assessments to other sectors as well.

Earlier in the week, Google had announced a program to fulfill a vow it took nearly four years ago, when it decided to list itself on the stock market. It then decided to allocate one per cent of its profit to 'make the world a better place'. is spending 175 million dollars over the next three years, beginning this, in grants and investments to philanthropic bodies, according to the company.

Google, one of the 10 richest corporations in the United States, one and half years ago appointed medical doctor Larry Brilliant, who had an Indian connection, as the director of

Brilliant was in an ashram in Uttar Pradesh in the 1970s and contributed his mite in helping eradicate smallpox in that part of India.

He compared his moral dilemma of spending the money to that faced by a 'sant' in Varanasi.

''There are 500 steps on the road to the Ganges. On every step are beggars, lepers, people who have no arms or legs, people literally starving. The saint has a couple of rupees; how does a good and honorable person make a resource allocation decision?'' The New York Times quoted him as saying.

''Do you weigh a hand that's missing more than a leg.

Someone who's starving versus a sick child? In a much less dramatic way, that's what the last 18 months have been for us,'' he added.

However, according to Siva Vaidhyanathan, a cultural historian and media scholar at the University of Virginia, global problems arise out of situations in which some human beings undervalue others and miscommunicate with one another.

''If you can educate a thousand girls in one state in India, you have already made a bigger difference than 99 per cent of the human beings on earth because every one of those girls can make a difference,''he told the newspaper.

Brilliant believes that though microcredit helps families, it alone does not bring them from out of poverty. According to him, the standards of living in China and India have risen because of manufacturing outsourcing respectively. has also donated 765,000 dollars to India to create a Budget Information Service to improve district-level planning and 660,000 dollars to form research groups and policymakers to deliver information.


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