Ancient Nalanda University reopens after 800 years

September 02, 2014 03:18 AM
Nalanda University, Patna

PATNA, Sept. 1: Nalanda University in Bihar's Rajgir district started its first academic session on Monday, nearly 800 years after the  education institution was destroyed. Students attended four sessions on the first day, 9am to 1.30pm. 

"The students had a chance to explore the neighbourhood during their three-day orientation programme earlier," vice-chancellor Gopa Sabharwal told TOI. The first batch of the university is being called the 'Nalanda Pioneers'. 

Congratulatory messages poured in. Nobel laureate and NU chancellor Amartya Sen was the first to call and wish the students. Members of NU governing body, Wang Bangwei, Wang Gungwu, NK Singh, George Yeo and Anil Wadhwa, too, sent laudatory wishes to the students and faculty members. "Congratulations. Indeed a moment of great satisfaction," Singh's message read.

At present, NU has two schools of the seven schools planned: ecology and environment studies and historical studies. The university has 15 students and 11 faculty members and is still in the process of admissions. Besides professors from foreign nations, two students are from Bhutan and Japan. 

NU School of Ecology and Environment Studies associate professor Somnath Bandyopadhyay told TOI, "A combined class was held on Monday morning for the students where they were told about our focus on interdisciplinary learning."

He added the focus at NU was on learning, not just teaching. "The students are a major resource for the institution and are bringing their experiences along with them and we will work together for the benefit of mankind." 

"The two-year master's programme is a semester system and credit-based programme which has a foundation course, core courses and an essential research project," Bandopadhyay said. The master's degree programme will also include field visits and internships.

Classes will be held at Rajgir's signature building, the International Convention Centre, until a makeshift campus for classrooms, offices and semi-furnished faculty residences near the Rajgir bus stand is ready. Students and faculty members are staying at a government hotel next to the convention centre. 

The 455-acre NU campus is yet to see any construction work as the university administration is in the process of getting municipal clearances.

( Courtsey: Times of India)

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