Ashok Kamath (C’79, H9) has been the Managing Trustee since 2003 and Chairman of Akshara Foundation since July 1, 2008. He was formerly the Managing Director of the Indian operations of Analog Devices. He opted to leave behind a successful career in the corporate sector and involve himself in the development sector. In April 2019, he was conferred the prestigious 'Namma Bengalurean' Award for exemplary work in education. IIT Bombay, presented him with its Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2013 for his various initiatives and contributions to the field of child education. Ashok is also a Co-Founder and Trustee of Pratham Books and Secretary of the IIT Alumni Centre, Bengaluru.
There has been this unresolved debate as to whether, when we attained independence in 1947, we should have invested more in primary education than on creating the IITs. Of course, this has been inconclusive and serves little purpose now in our 75th year of independence. But, having said that, today, we as IITians should be putting in our tremendous skills to ensure that every child has a level playing field and can get quality primary education, at the very least.