Higher Education

2nd state varsity of Delhi starts in August

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This August, Delhi's second state university will start functioning by opening its doors for the first batch of post-graduate students. Established in July 2008, the Ambedkar University, Delhi (AUD) would be India's first university dedicated exclusively to social sciences and humanities. The university will have 10 schools and five centres. It has already started operations by offering a PG Diploma in development studies and would launch three PG programmes this year including MA in development studies, psychology, and environment and development, followed by UG and law programmes in 2010. Interestingly, the university envisages a teacher-student ratio of 1:15. Calling it a public university with a difference, vice-chancellor Shyam Menon said, 'We are going to be an innovative public university. At present innovation is practiced only in private universities. We want to demonstrate a hybrid model of public and private initiative and respond to the evolving societal demands. So, while our education will not be subsidised, it won't be as low as DU or as high as the private universities.'

The university is proposing a differential fee structure, so that no eligible student is denied a seat because of his/ her inability to pay. This fee structure would be based on per-capita operational cost of the programme, economic and social background of the student and expected level of employment after graduation. At present, the university is functioning from a temporary location in Sector-9, Dwarka. By 2011 it will move to its new campus. According to university officials one of the proposed sites is near Najafgarh where the state government has offered around 50 acres to the university. 'It might not be a single campus university as we would like the students to travel as less as possible. By the time the project is completed we might have three campuses, one each in east, west and north,' said Menon. The university plans to recruit young faculty with 'tenure track arrangement' on the lines of JNU, whereby a faculty will have the option of moving elsewhere after 4 years and being able to join the university again later. 'Moreover we will have a large pool of adjunct faculty with a compensation package of INR 80,000 for our credit programme,' Menon added. By 2013, the university plans to have 15 interdisciplinary schools and centres, a community of 4,000 students, of which 1,200 will have hostel accommodation. About 1,000 students will pursue Post Graduation and research. There will be a core faculty of 200 teachers and 50 professional staff.

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