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Print edition : June 17, 2011

On the Galgotias University campus. - PICTURES BY SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

The Noida-Greater Noida region of Uttar Pradesh is fast becoming the new Pune or Bangalore of India.

THE Noida-Greater Noida region of Uttar Pradesh, which forms part of the National Capital Region adjoining Delhi, is the new Pune or Bangalore of India, with many world-class educational institutions setting up base there. While the region already has many premier schools, it is now higher education that is getting a boost.

Until a few years ago, the region only had Amity University, which has been functional for the past five years, and Jaypee University, which is a deemed Central university. But now many more institutions are lining up while some have already become functional, others are in the process of being set up giving a tremendous boost to the education sector as a whole.

It is noteworthy to mention here that the prestigious Jamia Millia Islamia, a Central university based in Delhi, and the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee already have centres operating in Greater Noida. The prestigious Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow has a centre in Noida. The Pune-based Symbiosis International University too has set up shop, with its law school already functioning in the Noida region.

State government officials believe that this has become possible because of the support extended by the Uttar Pradesh government by way of giving land at highly subsidised rates and other logistical support, including uninterrupted power supply, good roads, good networking facilities and an enabling environment. Among the new universities in the area, Galgotias University and Gautam Buddha University have sprawling campuses and impressive facilities. Two more world-class universities, Noida International University and Shiv Nadar University, are setting up their campuses.

The Galgotias group already has a presence in the region: its engineering college has been functioning for the past 10 years. Happy with the response from students and satisfied with the infrastructure being provided by the Uttar Pradesh government, the group has now set up a full-fledged university. With the vision of playing a decisive role in the education sector and promoting research, the group has arrived in this area with the mission of inviting only the best and nurturing them by providing them with life-changing experiences in the academic field.

Galgotias University

Galgotias University promises to be a true academic powerhouse as it has a modern outlook and is committed to engaging with the major issues of the day. With its sights set on providing a rigorous academic environment, the university has its work cut out for it generating, disseminating and preserving knowledge. Since its thrust is on giving the best, its screening process is tough. The university has taken special measures to ensure that its programmes encourage students to think critically, taking into consideration the real-world scenario. Discussions and interactions in classrooms are intense so that students get an all-encompassing experience. The performance of Galgotias College of Engineering & Technology over the years shows that Galgotias University is sure to become a leading name in education. The college is regularly ranked by the Data Quest survey as one of the top engineering institutions in Uttar Pradesh and one among the top 50 colleges in India.

The sprawling state-of-the-art campus of the university, designed by the Montreal-based architects Arcop International, offers courses in engineering and technology, computer and information science, management, arts and social sciences, journalism and mass communication, finance and commerce, and basic sciences. Its faculty are all PhD holders, mainly from international institutions such as Carnegie Mellon University and Purdue University. Experts from the IITs and academicians from all over the world form part of the visiting faculty.

Gautam Buddha University

Gautam Buddha University is another premier university in Greater Noida. Its focus area is providing education to historically deprived and disadvantaged sections of society.

As Vice-Chancellor V.C. Lakha puts it, the approach of the university's programmes is secular, egalitarian, and critical and relies on Buddhist philosophy. Lakha says, We ensure experiential, experimental and interdisciplinary learning and research in various fields of studies. Our meticulously designed curriculum and pedagogical training programmes stay focussed on imparting the knowledge required and desired for creating a humane and rational society.

The larger vision of the university is to create a globally acclaimed integrated academic and research institution that creates a vibrant community of intellectuals and entrepreneurs endowed with character, creativity, competence and commitment who can inspire meaningful transformation to ensure the holistic growth and development of society. The mission statement of the university says its goal is

To generate a community of scholars who can manage continuity and change.

To seek and incorporate the best practices in teaching and learning from around the world.

To inculcate in learners the ability to appreciate ethical, ecological and economic issues of knowledge.

To provide knowledge-based scientific solutions to satisfy the needs of society and industry.

To ensure an academic environment that guarantees avenues for all historically excluded sections of society.

Gautam Buddha University was established by the Uttar Pradesh Act (9) of 2002 and commenced its first academic session in August 2008. The university is fully funded by the New Okhla Industrial Development Authority (NOIDA) and the Greater Noida Industrial Development Authority (GNIDA), both undertakings of the Government of Uttar Pradesh. The campus is a fully residential educational campus developed on the lines of the best institutions of higher learning across the globe.

GAUTAM BUDDHA UNIVERSITY'S Central Library on Shanti Sarovar.-

The university has been recognised by the University Grants Commission under the UGC Act and is a member of the Association of Indian Universities. In order to promote value-based education, research and training, the university has established eight schools of learning. These are the School of Management, the School of Vocational Studies & Applied Sciences, the School of Buddhist Studies & Civilisation, the School of Information & Communication Technology, the School of Biotechnology, the School of Humanities & Social Sciences, the School of Law, Justice & Governance, and the School of Engineering.

The university has planned and is developing a campus to rival the best in the world. Its campus is an architectural marvel and will be completed by December. Some of the university's salient features are

A fully residential campus for all faculty, staff and students, with world-class infrastructure and support facilities and a built-up area of 55 lakh sq ft;

A lush green campus spread over 511 acres with 30 per cent green area in which 50,000 trees have already been planted;

A library with a total built-up area of 1.8 lakh sq ft and a seating capacity for 2,000 library users at a time;

In its fully functional state, the university can support 5,000 students;

An auditorium with a seating capacity of 3,000, and an international convention centre;

An administrative building, eight buildings for the different schools, meditation centres, a sports complex with indoor and outdoor stadia, a swimming pool and a gymnasium;

A waterbody spread over one lakh sq ft;

A transit hostel for 160 married research scholars;

A hostel with single occupancy for 5,000 postgraduate students; and

Hostels for women and men.

The university already has an impressive array of international collaborations and is in the process of formalising tie-ups and mutual accreditations with universities in the United Kingdom, France, Finland, the Netherlands, Australia, Denmark and the United States.

Special scholarships

To take the initiative of the university further, the government of Uttar Pradesh has introduced special scholarships for Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe students and other economically challenged students across all classes of society. This enables 50 per cent of them to meet their expenses for one semester's study at a foreign university.

In this regard the university has signed memoranda of understanding (MoUs) with Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia; the International Business Academy, Kolding, Denmark; and Manchester Metropolitan University and Sheffield Hallam University, both in the U.K.

In the 2010-11 session, students from the master of business administration (MBA) and M.Tech ICT programmes went to Sheffield Hallam University as part of the semester abroad programme. The third batch of students is preparing for this programme for the 2011-12 session.

In order to promote experiential learning, the university has a Corporate Relations Cell (CRC) to facilitate the process of industry-university interactions. The CRC endeavours to bridge the gap between academia and the corporate world. It engages leaders, entrepreneurs, executives, and policymakers to address students to facilitate practical learning. The centre involves students in various events and helps in summer training and final placements. Conscious of the linkage with industry, it facilitates a purposeful link between budding technocrats and entrepreneurs and their prospective employers.

As the Vice-Chancellor says, the university strives to create true world leaders, ready to take up the challenges of real life the moment they step outside the gates of the campus.

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