India Today


- by Ajay Sukumaran

For first-year students coming with a twoyear gap, we should be humble enough to pick them up and teach them the fundamenta­ls DR FR ABRAHAM V.M., VICE-CHANCELLOR, CHRIST (DEEMED TO BE UNIVERSITY), BENGALURU

In August, Christ (deemed to be university) will be opening its sixth campus in the country. Located at Yeshwanthp­ur in Bengaluru city, the new facility will admit about 2,500 students. As Vice-Chancellor Dr Fr Abraham V.M. says, the bigger focus now will be on creating depth. “I want research to grow,” says Abraham, who has set up a new R&D block at the university’s main central campus and invested in state-of-the-art equipment, including a scanning electron microscope. This calendar year so far, the research output is more than 700 publicatio­ns, he says. The focus areas: physics, chemistry, life sciences and computer science, besides social sciences such as psychology.

After two years of online gatherings, Christ recently held its first physical convocatio­n after completing the degree classes and examinatio­ns on time. Placements, particular­ly for MBA students, went well, with more than

250-300 companies participat­ing. “Our students are important for us and we give them special skills training. During the pandemic too, we did our level best. The faculty members got trained for one month on online teaching platforms such as WebEx and the students used the platforms very well,” the VC says. “We introduced viva-voce exams so we could assess the students better.”

This year, Christ admitted more than 14,000 students across all its campuses, including three existing one in Bengaluru (plus the new Yeshwanthp­ur campus, which will start on August 18) besides one each in Ghaziabad and Lavasa, Pune. The number of applicatio­ns this year crossed 100,000, up from 80,000 last year. Fr Abraham says the university receives foreign students from 70 countries, though their intake has been lower in the past couple of years due to the pandemic.

The university also focuses on social outreach programmes through its Centre for Social Action—a students’ initiative set up in 1999 for social sensitisat­ion programmes such as developmen­t projects for marginalis­ed communitie­s. “At least once in three years, the students will be staying in a village. Some of them are seeing a village for the first time,” says Abraham. “Social responsibi­lity is one of the core values.”

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