Did you know India is the home to the oldest University in the World?
Nalanda University, in Northern India, was a world-leading centre for education long before Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard and other such eminent Universities. Nalanda University was the home to over 10,000 students from all over Asia for hundreds of years before being destroyed by invaders in 1193.
In modern-day India, with its growing economy and effluent middle-classes, there is a growing demand for world-class education within India. This may sounds like a pipe-dream to many, given that currently no Indian University makes it to the Top 200 World University list by the Times Higher Education World University Ranking.
However, Nobel prize winning economist, Prof. Amartya Sen, along with a group of statesmen and scholars are leading the way to reviving Nalanda as an international centre for education by establishing a new world-class residential university with top students and researchers from around the world.
Nalanda University itself was established by an Act of the Indian Parliament in November 2010 and since then has been running various lectures and workshops as well as undertaking a building programme for the students’ residence and University buildings. The Nalanda University, which aims to open its doors to students in 2014, will focus on the humanities, economics and management, Asian integration, sustainable development and oriental languages.
While there are still many things to do to get the University up and running, and many critics have questioned the location in Bihar as questionable due to the lack of local infrastructure and other amenities, the “Spirit of Nalanda” seems to be prevailing, with the State and National government committed to improving infrastructure as well we building an international airport nearby.
Prof. Amartya Sen says “Nalanda will be built up slowly, faculty by faculty rather than having everything at once.”
The concept of Nalanda is grand and may take years to achieve, but the spirit of education cannot be contained. Step-by-step development is certainly a principle which CAREducation Trust understands. Over the last decade CAREducation had worked at the grassroots to building up over a dozen educational projects in India and Africa from building school buildings to sponsoring children at schools.
At times there have been many difficulties and many obstacles to overcome but working step-by-step at the grassroots level, CAREducation is determined to bring education to the most vulnerable and needy. For it is through education that imagination can be fired up and provide the tools to the improvised to lift themselves out of poverty and help bring about a rise in living standards.