A model institution

Print edition : June 30, 2006

L. VENUGOPAL REDDY, Andhra University Vice-Chancellor. - P.V. SIVAKUMAR

ANDHRA University is not just one of the oldest educational institutions in the country but is also the first to be conceived as a residential and teaching-cum-affiliating university, mainly devoted to post-graduate teaching and research.

The people of the State have an emotional attachment to the institution, since it came into being after a prolonged and collective struggle of the Telugu elite for a university in the educationally backward northern Circars and ceded districts of the erstwhile Madras Presidency.

The university was contemplated as a model institution "on the lines of Manchester and Leeds universities", imparting training not only in the regular courses of study, but also in specialised branches that bear a direct relationship with the industrial establishments in the area and it "has lived up to this expectation," says a bulletin of the university's Research Forum.

The 80-year-old institution is lucky to have Sir C.R. Reddy as it founder Vice-Chancellor, as the steps taken by this visionary proved to be fruitful in the long run. Thanks to his efforts the university, which started functioning from rented premises in Bezawada (now Vijayawada), was shifted to Visakhapatnam.

President Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was one of its Vice-Chancellors. His successor in the university, Dr. V.S. Krishna introduced several courses and engaged the services of famous educationists such as Dr. T.R. Seshadri, Dr. S. Bhagavantham, Professors Hiren Mukherjee and Humayan Kabir and Dr. V.K.R.V. Rao, who set high standards for teaching and research.

The university was patronised by the Rajah of Jeypore (Orissa), Raja Vikram Deo Varma, who provided an annual grant of Rs.1 lakh. His benevolence helped the university develop the AU College of Science and Technology, which was later named after him.

Over the years, several new departments and specialisations were established. The Bhabha Atomic Research Centre is planning to establish a research wing and there is a proposal to start a Naval University on the campus.

With several major industries being set up in the city, the university's role in research and consultancy is expected to increase.

The increase in the number of affiliated degree colleges necessitated the formation of two more universities in the region. The Acharya Nagarjuna University near Guntur was carved out of Andhra University 30 years ago. The Adikavi Nannaya University, which will start functioning from the current academic year, has been established in Rajahmundry with jurisdiction over 300 colleges in the East and West Godavari districts.

The task of Vice-Chancellor Professor L. Venugopal Reddy is to keep the institution abreast in the era of globalisation. He plans to give top priority to interaction with industry and research organisations and encouragement of new research projects. The Vice-Chancellor feels that tie-ups with industry will not only benefit the university to take up major research programmes but also bring revenue to the institution as government support is dwindling.

In order to improve research, the university has decided to admit 2,150 scholars this year under full-time and part-time research programmes.

Organising guest lectures and training programmes by top executives and industrialists, tailoring the syllabus to meet the needs of industry and including executives on the Boards of Studies of campus departments are some of the initiatives taken to improve interaction with industry. These efforts are yielding results as memoranda of understanding have been signed with several foreign universities.

Students passing out of the affiliated colleges find jobs easily. Placement of students of AU College of Engineering reached 78 per cent last year and the administration is keen to reach 100 per cent this year. Placement of science, MCA and MBA students is also good. A job mela organised on the campus provided the students an opportunity to know about the requirements of the job market.

Programmes such as University Adalat, which seeks to solve campus disputes, and the `Dial Your VC', which enables people to get details about the university and its functioning, have made the institution accessible to all.

G. NARASIMHA RAO
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