PM Modi to inaugurate new campus of Nalanda University tomorrow | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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PM Modi to inaugurate new campus of Nalanda University tomorrow

Jun 18, 2024 04:44 PM IST

Nalanda University’s inauguration would be attended by external affairs minister S Jaishankar and ambassadors of 17 countries

NEW DELHI: The new campus of Nalanda University, located close to the site of the ancient ruins of the Buddhist centre of learning in Bihar, is set to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday to take forward an initiative that took shape nearly two decades ago.

Nalanda University was established in 2010 through an act of Parliament that implemented decisions made at the second East Asia Summit (Photo:nalandauniv.edu.in)
Nalanda University was established in 2010 through an act of Parliament that implemented decisions made at the second East Asia Summit (Photo:nalandauniv.edu.in)

The Nalanda University was established in 2010 through an act of Parliament that implemented decisions made at the second East Asia Summit, which brings together the 10 Asean states and six partners, in the Philippines in 2007 and at the fourth East Asia Summit in Thailand in 2009. Those decisions called for setting up an “international institution for pursuit of intellectual, philosophical, historical and spiritual studies”.

The university got a major push under the Bharatiya Janata Party government in 2014, when it started functioning from a makeshift location with 14 students. Construction work on the university began in 2017, with the government focused on creating an institution that reminded the modern world of the eminence of the ancient Nalanda University, which was set up in the 5th century and attracted students from across the world.

The ancient university flourished for 800 years before it was burnt down by invaders in the 12th century.

Wednesday’s inauguration is expected to be attended by external affairs minister S Jaishankar and ambassadors of 17 participating countries, including members of Asean. These 17 countries – Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Laos, Mauritius, Myanmar, New Zealand, Portugal, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam – have signed memorandums of understanding in support of the university.

The university currently offers 137 scholarships to international students, including scholarships sponsored or funded by the Asean-India Fund, Bimstec scholarships and the Bhutan Scholarship of the external affairs ministry. The university has postgraduate and doctoral research courses and short-term certificate courses.

The strength of postgraduate programmes in the last three academic years were 220 students (51 Indian and 169 international) in 2021-22, 228 students (55 Indian and 173 international) in 2022-23, and 322 students (69 Indian and 253 international) in 2023-24.

So far, the university’s postgraduate programmes have attracted students from countries such as Argentina, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Indonesia, Kenya, Laos, Liberia, Myanmar, Mozambique, Nepal, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Thailand, Türkiye, Uganda, the US, Vietnam and Zimbabwe.

The university has six schools – the school of Buddhist studies, philosophy and comparative religions, the school of historical studies, the school of ecology and environmental studies, the school of sustainable development and management, the school of languages and literature, and the school of international relations and peace studies, which is yet to commence.

It also has four centers – the Center for Bay of Bengal Studies, Center for Indo-Persian Studies, Centre for Conflict Resolution and Peace Studies, and a Common Archival Resource Center.

So far, two academic blocks with 40 classrooms, with a total seating capacity of 1,890, two administrative blocks, two auditoriums with a seating capacity of more than 300, hostels with the capacity to house almost 550 students, and 197 units of academic residential housing have been built.

The new campus also has a guesthouse, an international centre, a dining hall with a capacity of 1,000, an amphitheatre that can accommodate up to 2,000, and essential amenities such as a sports complex, a medical centre, a commercial centre, and a faculty club.

The Nalanda University is a “net zero” green campus with a 6.5-MW DC on-grid solar plant, a 500-KLD domestic and drinking water treatment plant, and a 400-KLD water recycling plant for reusing wastewater. The campus also has 100 acres of water bodies. A 1.2-MW AC biogas-based waste-to-energy plant is in the last phase of completion.

A library with a capacity to hold 300,000 books and 3,000 users is scheduled for completion in September.

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