Mumbai: Anil Agarwal, chairman, Vedanta Resources Plc, has made $1-billion endowment to establish a world class, multi-disciplinary university in India to develop India''s education and research infrastructure. The proposed university is being visualised to be of the calibre of such leading institutes like Harvard, Stanford or Oxford and envisages a student population of more than 100,000 in the long term.
According to a press release, the proposed university would also aim to nurture all-round excellence, beyond the academic dimension, to produce tomorrow's Nobel laureates, Olympians and community leaders Agarwal's vision enabling an education and research township around the university similar to how Stanford University enabled the birth of Palo Alto.
"India has high quality educational institutes like IITs and IIMs, which are comparable with the world''s best, but these are focused on single disciplines," says Agarwal. "Moreover, these top tier institutes collectively cater to less than 75,000-100,000 students annually - not even 2 per cent of the total school output. There is an urgent need for universities providing quality education through a multi-disciplinary curriculum, along with a clear research focus - to further India's potential as an R&D hub".
Agarwal has met prime minister Manmohan Singh, to present his vision of the proposed university and solicit his inputs as an eminent educationist. The PM is believed to have endorsed the need for such a university .
Global management consulting firm A T Kearney India Ltd has been appointed to manage this endeavor. According to the press release, a team of consultants from India, Europe and the US have been working on charting a roadmap for this project since the summer of 2005. Key priorities in the roadmap include - identifying the right location for the university, building the academic plan and leadership team and charting the right legislative roadmap, so that this university can attain global stature and compete with the best in the world.
A formal dialogue has been initiated with prospective state governments, which are believed to present high potential as an appropriate location for the university along with a potential for creation of the envisaged ecosystem.
The release adds, "in the longer term, such universities can enable the creation of a 'thriving ecosystem', in terms of, academia, research, industry & government inter-linkages, resulting in the development of a new 'economic hub'. Stanford University's Research Park has spawned more than 1200+ companies in the Silicon valley, with a combined market capitalisation of more than $300 billion - the vision of this university is to aspire to be a similar enabler for India."