I NDIA’ S BEST UNI­VER­SI­TIES

India Today - - EDUCATION -

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

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