Nobel laureate Amartya Sen has been appointed the first chancellor of the proposed Nalanda University (NU). He is also the chairman of the NU governing body. The appointment has been made by the President and it was announced by governing body member and former foreign minister of Singapore, George Yeo, after the daylong meeting here on Thursday.
Sen said the first two schools on ecology & environment and historical studies will start in 2014. After the approval of its architectural design, the construction work and appointment of faculty members will start simultaneously. "There will be seven postgraduate schools in the university. Two more schools of Information & Technology and Economics & Management will come up," Sen told media. "Initially, 100 students in each of the two schools will be enrolled," NU VC Gopa Sabharwal said.
She also announced the formation of two bodies, an endowment committee, to be headed by board member and JD(U) MP N K Singh for raising funds from non-government sources, and an international advisory panel headed by George Yeo. "The Thai princess has agreed to be a member of the panel while Lord Meghnad Desai is another member. The confirmation of other dignitaries is awaited," said Yeo.
The meeting endorsed and adopted the recommendations of the Nalanda Monitoring Committee (NMC). That included an airport in Nalanda and inclusion of school on peace studies. The board is also taking note of the suggestion made by chief minister Nitish Kumar on Thursday during luncheon meeting with the members. The CM suggested the board members to include school of basic science in the NU. "We will see in what shape this subject is taught in other universities in the world," Sen added.
The next meeting of the board will be held on February 13, 2013, at Rajgir. In November, 2012, the NMC, headed by Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, will meet here. The NMC's first meeting was held in Delhi last month.
Sen said by January next, the architectural design agency will be selected through global competition. Regarding faculty appointment, Sugata Bose of Harvard University, another member of the board, said 26 faculty positions, including that of dean, professor and associate professors, would be created and teachers would come from different parts of the world. The formula for the faculty would be made as per the standard of universities in SAARC nations.
Singh said the university would be funded by the central government. Union ministry of finance was in the process of preparing a detailed project for the university as part of the 12th five-year plan. "We are also encouraging private endowment. One individual has announced US$1 million and Australia has agreed to establish a chair," he added.
All the members of the board, except Wang Gungwu of Singapore and Prapod Assavavirulhakarn of Thailand, attended the meeting which discussed in detail the various issues related to the NU. When asked whether he would spend more time in Nalanda as its chancellor, Sen smiled and said, "Sure."