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Bringing Asia together

Popular among students from the SAARC countries, South Asian University has a lot to offer to students.
Hindustan Times | By Gauri Kohli, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JAN 01, 2013 02:24 PM IST

For Manoj Dhakal, a native of Chitwan city in Nepal, joining Delhi’s South Asian University (SAU) meant “learning more from fellow students than textbooks.” A student of the master’s programme in sociology at SAU, Dhakal decided to pursue his higher studies here because he was impressed by the fact that it has teachers from some of the SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) countries.

“Teachers here are very experienced and highly qualified. The curriculum is of global standards and is very rigorous, exhaustive and refined,” he says.

Like Dhakal, there are more than 300 students from various SAARC countries, including India, pursuing postgraduate courses in disciplines including development economics, computer science, biotechnology, mathematics, sociology, international relations and law. Most students describe their experience of studying here as “amazing.”

“We are not only taught by teachers at SAU, but there are also a lot of them who come from institutions such as Jawaharlal Nehru University and Delhi University for workshops and interactions which makes the overall learning experience very enriching,” says Ramen Sadaat, a student of MSc computer science, who has come all the way from Afghanistan.

USP: “SAU is a unique international university. It has been established by the governments of eight SAARC nations by pooling in their ideas, initiatives and resources.

The core aim of the university, besides providing state-of-the-art education, is to inculcate a sense of regional consciousness amongst students from across south Asia. It boasts of some of the most talented faculty drawn from around the world. The course curricula are also set with a larger perspective on the region and the world,” says Rajiv K Saxena, vice president of the university.

Programmes: The university offers the following courses: MA (development economics); MA (international relations); MSc (biotechnology); MA (sociology); MSc (computer science); master of computer applications; MSc (applied mathematics); and master of law. SAU is going to offer PhD programmes from 2013. Research scholars would be inducted into the PhD programmes through an entrance test followed by a personal interview. All the candidates of the research programmes will be eligible to apply for the ongoing SAARC Silver Jubilee Scholarship instituted by the Indian government especially for SAU students. The maximum scholarship for research scholars carries full fee waiver, free stay in the hostel, a monthly allowance of R12,000 and a fixed start-up amount. There are 25 scholarships earmarked for PhD students.

Faculty: The university has 53 faculty members, out of which 46 are from India and the rest from Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

IT quotient: The university campus, currently located in Chanakyapuri, is WiFi enabled. Its library houses the latest editions of books and provides access to internet-based resources from around the world. SAU has put together state-of-the-art computer labs for MCA and MSc computer science courses. All the classes are equipped with the latest teaching aids like overhead projectors.

Infrastructure: Everything from classrooms to administrative offices, the library, conference hall, student hostels and cafeteria are available. All the hostels have common rooms. The university has established modern research and training laboratories for those pursuing their studies in biotechnology. The university’s new campus is coming up in Maidan Garhi: A 100-acre plot has been allotted by the Central government near the Indira Gandhi National Open University. The new SAU campus will be a fully residential.

Clubs and societies: Students have formed various clubs like drama club, music club, travel club and sports club that are liberally funded by the university. The students’ mess committee and hostel committee are elected student bodies.

Admissions: The university will soon announce admissions to MSc, MA and PhD programmes. Admission notification for the next academic session is likely to be made during the first half of January 2013. The entrance test will most likely be held in the third week of March and the session starts in July. SAU has country-wise quota for admissions. While Indian students can take up to 50% of the available seats, 10% seats each are earmarked for Bangladesh and Pakistan. Up to four per cent students each are allowed from the other five SAARC countries - Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Afghanistan. There is also a provision of 10% students from countries outside the SAARC region.

SAU is an international university established by the eight member nations of SAARC and started operations in 2010

“I wish more students get to know about this university as it’s a great place to study, especially for students from other countries. We would also like to shift to a bigger campus soon,” says Manoj Dhakal, a student

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