I NDIA’ S BEST UNIVERSITIES
for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology has been awarded Rs 13.5 crore by the Government of India’s Department of Biotechnology. The university, which received a Rs 6.15 crore grant from the University Grants Commission ( UGC), will introduce an interdisciplinary Centre of Excellence on electro- physiological and neuroimaging studies including mathematical modelling at its Rajabazar Science College campus this year.
The University of Calcutta’s faculty is leading the innovation charge. Faculty members in the science and technology departments applied for 28 patents out of which 14 have already come through. Teachers of the university won 109 national and international awards in 2011, including the Innovative Project Award 2011 by the Indian National Academy of Engineering to Pritha Banerjee for her doctoral research in reconfiguring modern integrated circuits; the DBT- CREST Award of the Government of India’s Department of Biotechnology to Sucharita Mitra ( Sarkar) for a project that seeks to develop low- cost ECG machines; India’s Young Scientist Award from the National Academy of Sciences to A. Ukil of the biochemistry department and the Invention Awards of Intellectual Ventures, Bangalore, that provides financial and administrative aid to invention development. Two retired faculty members have been awarded the Basic Scientific Research Fellowship by UGC in 2012.
With a top- drawer faculty to learn from, students have little to complain about. “The teaching standards are the best,” says Sanchari Bandyopadhyay, 23, a second- year mass communication student. What the university has in terms of faculty quality, however, it lacks in numbers. “The teacher- student ratio is not the same across all departments. The university definitely requires more faculty members,” says Biplab Chakrabarti, 53, professor of Library and Information Science. Infrastructure is also an issue, as firstyear Library and Information Science student Panchali Bhaduri, 25, points out. “There is no doubt about the quality of education imparted at the university. But better infrastructure facilities and more teachers would definitely help,” she says, adding that students from elsewhere often have to wait for six or seven months after admission to get university accommodation.
The University of Calcutta campus has a very different look compared to the oh- so- trendy, ipad- wielding youngsters of Delhi University. Demurely dressed in salwar kameez or jeans and kurtis, students are rarely seen sporting tattoos or carrying even an acoustic guitar to the campus. It boasts of a healthy gender ratio of 1,016 boys to 1,000 girls with adequate representation to students from backward communities. The university churns out the highest number of top- ranking students in the National Eligibility Test ( NET) for scholarship towards doctoral studies.
The university has received grants worth Rs 10 crore for research purposes in 2011- 12, including for 22 major and five minor research projects. But funds are a constant worry. “Although more than half the student population goes to state universities and five among UGC’S nine ‘ Centres with Potential for Excellence’ are state institutions, more than 65 per cent of its budget is directed towards Central universities,” says Das, alluding to the skew in fund disbursal to Central and state universities.
In 2011, the United Nations Academic Impact Programme named University of Calcutta as one of the 10 global hubs and the country’s only university to work on the principles of peace and conflict resolution. The university also received an ‘ A’ grade accreditation by National Assessment and Accreditation Council in 2010. It has over 50 tie- ups with foreign universities and global institutions including collaborative projects with Oxford Brookes University of the United Kingdom, Kanazawa University of Japan and the INSA- JSPS Exchange Programme. The university’s flagship centre, the Institute of Foreign Policy Studies which is funded by Ministry of External Affairs, buttressed its forward- looking agenda with an international conference in association with the Australia India Institute in December 2011 on ‘ The Asian Century: Security, Sustainability and Society’.
“Despite limited financial resources and infrastructure facilities, the university is doing its best,” says Das. With the rapid strides the university is making, the accolades are coming thick and fast.
University of Calcutta creates great outspoken citizens and fearless sportsmen with unrivalled consistency. Victor Banerjee,
Actor; English ( Hons), 1965
Like many other things in Bengal, things at CU also seem to be looking up. I am pleased that CU has ranked so well.
Samit Basu, Author; Economics ( Hons), 2001