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Lofty vision

Print edition : Mar 11, 2011 T+T-
At the Department of Architecture on the Andhra University campus at Visakhapatnam.-C.V. SUBRAHMANYAM

At the Department of Architecture on the Andhra University campus at Visakhapatnam.-C.V. SUBRAHMANYAM

Andhra University and A.P. University of Law offer academic programmes that are in tune with the times.

IT was a dream come true for the Telugu-speaking people of the erstwhile Madras Presidency when Andhra University (Andhra Viswa Kala Parishad) was established in 1926. Many old-timers say that the struggle launched in the early part of the 1900s for a university, in fact, sowed the seeds for a separate State in later years.

The university has had two towering personalities as its Vice-Chancellors: Sir Cattamanchi Ramalinga Reddy, its first Vice-Chancellor, followed by Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, who later became the President of India. Sir Ramalinga Reddy, who served one more term after Radhakrishnan, was instrumental in finding a permanent place for the university. He got the university shifted from Vijayawada (then Bezawada), where it was temporarily located, to the sylvan settings of Waltair abutting the sea in Visakhapatnam.

Both Ramalinga Reddy and Radhakrishnan provided what a university needs during its early phase a strong administration and academic strength. They engaged reputed personalities from different fields as full-time faculty or made them visit the campus regularly to provide quality education to students. Their successors like Dr V.S. Krishna built the institution on this foundation. Some members of the faculty today are acclaimed for their academic brilliance and research.

Andhra University, which began with four departments, now offers more than 300 courses in six campus colleges. Its most recent achievements include the establishment of an exclusive engineering college for girls, 25 research or study centres on the campus and three postgraduate centres outside Visakhapatnam. Its School of Distance Education has 80,000 students. The postgraduate centre at Etcherla near Srikakulam has been elevated to the status of a university (Dr B.R. Ambedkar University).

Andhra University has several firsts to its credit. When it was carved out of Madras University, it was the first university to be established as a residential and teaching-cum-affiliating institution. It is also the first to start a Master of Business Administration (MBA) programme, the first State university in the country to get ISO certification (ISO 9001:2000 in 2006) and the first State university to start a separate campus engineering college for women.

Recently, the Andhra University College of Engineering (autonomous) received the Best Government Engineering College award in the country from Star News. It is also the first in the country to introduce a joint programme in electromechanical engineering with Group T University of Belgium.

In February, after a gap of 33 years, the university organised an academic exhibition along with local public sector undertakings (PSUs) and government departments. The show was a big success.

Vice-Chancellor B. Satyanarayana feels a lot more has to be done to sustain the reputation of the institution and to balance the funds crunch. Whatever a university does, it must have relevance to the public. Social and ethical development of students and society is important, said Prof. Satyanarayana.

Andhra University does regular assessment of its research scholars and is making efforts to bring in more foreign students. It already has nearly 250 students from other countries, and has two hostels for them.

The university has signed MoUs with many foreign universities and institutions on twinning programmes and double-degree programmes. It has five-year integrated programmes too. The latest plan of the university is to introduce yoga to foreign students and in foreign institutions.

We have academic programmes relevant to the present industrial applications and to provide better job opportunities to students, said Prof. Satyanarayana. Moves have also been initiated to fill in the academic vacancies.

According to the Vice-Chancellor, a positive development among students is that they have understood the importance of knowing good English that will stand them in good stead in a globalised scenario.

The university gives importance to practical experience, and students to go on industrial tours, field visits or excursions, and engage themselves in internship programmes during winter vacations.

A.P. University of Law

Realising the importance of legal studies in professional education, the National Knowledge Commission mooted the idea of having at least one exclusive university of law in all the States in the country. The A.P. University of Law in Visakhapatnam, set up in 2008, is a product of that vision. It is the 12th university of law to be established in the country.

Chancellor Prof. A. Lakshminath said that it was set up with the aim of imparting justice-oriented legal education, which is essential to realise the values enshrined in the Constitution.

Legal education must equip professionals to meet new challenges and dimensions of internationalisation. Legal education is undergoing a paradigm shift, and in such a scenario, the educational set-up should be able to produce lawyers with a social vision and a sense of mission, especially in a developing country like India. Law has to serve as a vehicle of economic and social change in a developing society, he said.

Apart from the main campus in Visakhapatnam, there are two at Kadapa and Nizamabad. The university now operates from leased premises, but it will shortly be shifting to a sprawling campus of its own, said Prof. A. Subrahmanyam, the Registrar of the university.

The university offers a five-year integrated BA, LLB (Hons.) course. Admission to this is through CLAT (Common Law Admission Test) and the eligibility norm is 10+2 or its equivalent. The annual intake for the course is 60. The course is made up of 10 semesters and the students have to submit projects in each of the subjects for every semester.

The university also has PhD and LLD programmes. At present, about 40 candidates are into active research.

A.P. University of Law has plans to start an LLM programme from 2012, with specialisations in subjects such as women and law, energy law, maritime law, environment law and cyber law. Diploma programmes in intellectual property rights, international humanitarian law, cyber law and media law are also in the offing.

The university has plans to collaborate with some foreign universities for a student exchange programme in the final year.

Vice-Chancellor Prof. Y. Satyanarayana said the main objective of the university was to provide quality multidisciplinary education in legal studies, keeping in view the demands of the global economy and the needs of society. The goal is to instil cultural, legal and ethical values in students, he said.

Explaining the uniqueness of the university, the Vice-Chancellor said: The teaching methodology, in combination with well-supported experienced faculty and infrastructure, is the key. Our emphasis is on practical training of students in technical skills of the profession through moot courts, seminars, project reports, expert lectures, work in law chambers, court visits, and legal aid and legal literacy camps in rural areas.

At present the university has outsourced its hostel facility, but it will soon have a hostel of its own. Apart from having air-conditioned classrooms and mock courts on the campus, it is Wi-Fi enabled and has a state-of-the-art library with free access to the online legal library, Manu Patra'.

Careers

With the likely launch of the Indian Judicial Service in the next couple of years, the career prospects for legal professionals are likely to increase substantially. We expect that the IJS would be implemented by the government by 2013-14, and that is when our first batch will pass out. The legal sector is always on the lookout for qualified professionals, and the scope is wide. They can fit in as policymakers, administrators, lawyers, legal officers, negotiators, mediators, arbitrators and teachers. With the focus now shifting to patents, corporate houses are on the lookout for qualified professionals. Moreover, students can explore the options in international agencies such as the United Nations, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the International Criminal Court, said Prof. Subrahmanyam.