In a significant step, seven newly-created Central universities in April 2010 came together to hold a combined entrance exam from this year for admission of students in about 25 courses being offered by them. These institutions are Central Universities of Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand, Bihar, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The combined entrance exam is the first of its kind exercise being conducted by the Central universities in the country. At present, the IITs and IIMs are holding similar combined entrances for admission. These universities are among 16 new central universities created last year under a Central act. Some of the universities started offering courses already in 2009. More information.
Other Research News
The idea of a multi-campus South Asia University (SAU) with its epicentre in India (Delhi) was mooted by the Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh during the 13th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit held at Dhaka in November 2005. The idea was accepted in principle and Prof. Gauhar Rizvi, from Bangladesh, (Professor at Harvard) was assigned the job of developing the draft of the university. The draft was approved and the Government of India have allotted 100 acres land (beside the Indira Gandhi National Open University, in Maidan Garhi, New Delhi) for establishing the campus of SAU. The foundation was laid by Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee on 26 May 2008. The South Asian University will be set up on the lines of American Ivy League universities, and also induct students and recruit faculty from across the globe. The governance structure of SAU, with link campuses in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and Afghanistan, will be laid down by February 2009. Prof. Rizvi, who was entrusted with the task of preparing the university's concept note, has advised a middle path between government-funded and private education. The role of the SAARC nation governments will be confined to providing annual subsidies and grants, the concept note has recommended. More information.
In December 2008, the Union government of India approved the establishment of the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB) through an Act of Parliament. SERB is being set up for promoting basic research in Science and Engineering in India and to provide financial assistance to scientists, academic institutions, R&D laboratories, industrial concerns and other agencies for such research. It was established nearly four years after the Prime Minister’s Science Advisory Council (SAC-PM), India’s apex science advisory body, recommended the creation of an autonomous research-funding agency free from bureaucratic controls, on the lines of the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the United States. The SERB, located in Delhi, is chaired by the Secretary to the Government of India in the Department of Science and Technology and have other senior government functionaries and eminent scientists from different fields of science and technology as members. The journalist R. Ramachandran has written a lenghty article on the creation of SERB, ”Funds aplenty”, published in Frontline 13 March 2009. Read the article.
For the academic session 2007–08, more than 500 Indian students and scholars from all over India secured admission to a large number of European universities spread all over the 27 EU Member States thanks to the Erasmus Mundus (EM) scholarship funded by the European Union. The European Commission and the Government of India in February 2005 signed an agreement through which 900 scholarships will be offered for Indian graduate students to study at Europe's finest universities. The EC has provided Euros 33 Million to finance the scholarship programme, that is part of the Erasmus Mundus programme, providing scholarships for graduate students from third countries to study in Europe. Graduate students can apply for a scholarship directly to the European Erasmus Mundus Degree which interests them, a number of which includes Swedish universities, see above. For the academic year of 2005/2006, 133 scholarships for Indian students under the India Window were approved. In 2006–07 this number rose to 288 and in 2007–08 to 403. In addition to this, 81 Indian students and 27 scholars received scholarships under the general EM programme in 2007–08. More information.