Nalanda University (NU) is set to hold its first governing board (GB) meeting since February 2018 at its Delhi office on Thursday.
The 17th GB meeting is crucial as it will pave the way for shifting of academic activities to its upcoming sprawling 455-acre campus to the north of Rajgir hills, besides approving new proposals and reviewing ongoing admissions.
The varsity’s board was re-constituted in November 2016 with all new members. The lone member of the Nalanda Mentor Group (NMG) retaining his position and the Indian government’s representative in the new GB was former Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament N K Singh, presently chairman of the 15th finance commission.
In January 2017, the university also got a new Chancellor in Dr Vijay Bhatkar, following the resignation of George Yeo on November 25 in the wake of dissolution of NMG. In May, Prof Sunaina Singh also took over as the new vice-chancellor.
Set up in 2014 to recreate the glory and academic excellence of ancient Nalanda and serve as an intellectual bridge between India and East Asia, the NU witnessed a flurry of activities in 2016-17, which led to a complete change of guard.
There were also reports of faculty attrition in NU, but the V-C played it down, saying it was nothing abnormal.
“Some people have left as their term ended, others left as they got better avenues in locations of their choice, while there were also those who found it tough to continue in the disciplined atmosphere that we are striving to enforce on the campus. We have enough faculty members of quality for our schools and new ones are also coming in,” said V-C Sunaina Singh, who took over in the wake of sexual harassment slur on the NU.
However, the biggest plus for NU is that it is now set to move to its campus. Former President Pranab Mukhejee had laid the foundation stone of the campus on August 27, 2016.
“The work is on schedule and the first phase comprising five main buildings has been completed. The campus, likely to be fully ready by 2020, will go beyond the highest green building features as per government guidelines, i.e. a rating of 5 under GRIHA. We plan to start teaching this year itself from the new campus, as adequate facilities are ready now,” said the VC.
At present, NU has four schools, but a few new centres are in the pipeline, including one on the Bay of Bengal Studies, which was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi while addressing the member states of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) at Katmandu on August 31, 2018.
The Government of India would also cover 30 scholarships to member states (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Thailand) to conduct research on Bay of Bengal region at the NU. Another centre in the offing is on sustainable development.
At present, admissions in NU is on and the first cycle has been completed, while the second cycle is set to begin.
NU also plans to start Ph.D programmes from this year, which was earlier approved by the academic council.