GUNTUR, the land of Acharya Nagarjuna and Amareswara, was a centre of learning even thousands of years ago. Now it has a number of institutions, both government and private, offering quality higher education.
Guntur Medical College has produced some of the finest doctors in the country and abroad. The country's second oldest agriculture college is at Bapatla in Guntur district; three decades ago it helped further the Green Revolution by producing the high-yielding `Sona Mashuri' rice variety. Andhra Christian College and the Hindu College have churned out some stalwarts in the field of politics and science.
The residential system of college education was the brainchild of the educationist Lavu Rathaiah. The experiment he made in private collegiate education in the 1980s propelled the setting up of 400 more private colleges in the State.
His Vignan Group of educational institutions, providing school, college and professional education, continue to provide quality education across the State.
"It is simply impossible for the government to invest in higher education in large amounts. They need to concentrate on real research, which is lacking. So the Vignan Group aims to promote research through three of its engineering colleges as soon as the Vignan Foundation gets the `deemed university' status. Electronics and Mechanical Engineering branches have been shortlisted for core research activity," Rathaiah told Frontline. "Collaborative research is what we are aiming for once we get deemed status," he added.
The Vignan Group's engineering colleges stands third in the State in terms of finding placements for its students.
Rathaiah said several universities in the United Kingdom were ready to collaborate with Vignan Engineering College at Vadlamudi. In fact, all major private institutions in India that impart quality higher education were on the radar of private foreign universities ready to come into India, he observed.Ramesh Susarla