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Bharati Vidyapeeth Deemed University (BVDU), Pune, has emerged as a leading institution of higher education, offering a wide range of programmes across a spectrum of faculties. The university boasts of state-of-the-art infrastructure, sprawling campuses, extensive teaching and learning facilities, libraries and research facilities. Says Dr Shivajirao Kadam, Vice-Chancellor, BVDU: "India Today magazine has ranked us 26th among the 764 universities in the country in a recent survey. Last year, we ranked 34th. We also feature among the top five universities of western India."
BVDU has 29 constituents and is one of India's largest multi-disciplinary, multi-campus universities. It has about 23,000 students pursuing 305 courses, including 79 PhD programmes. The university traces its origin to Bharati Vidyapeeth, an educational institution set up in Pune in 1964 by Dr Patangrao Kadam, a leading public figure of Maharashtra. Bharati Vidyapeeth today has more than 150 educational units, from pre-primary schools to post-graduate institutions.
On June 25, President Pranab Mukherjee attended the golden jubilee celebrations of the institution in Pune. The event was attended by prominent politicians of the state, including the chief minister and many former chief ministers, eminent personalities such as vice-chancellors of other universities, and industrialists. In all, 5,000 people were present at the sprawling 70-acre Dhankawadi campus. The President also inaugurated Rs20-million Research School for Health at the campus.
According to Kadam, the university lays great emphasis on research. This year, for instance, its professors and faculty members published 3,150 research papers in peer-reviewed journals, including more than 2,400 international publications. About 700 students are pursuing their PhD programmes in 79 disciplines.
"We also give admission to international students for our PhD programmes," says Kadam. "They are mainly from emerging economies of Asia and Africa." BVDU has about 1,500 NRI and foreign students from nearly 50 countries pursuing various courses. "We have also built a 100-room (200 beds capacity) hostel for NRI students at the Dhankawadi campus," he adds. BVDU collaborates with top universities around the globe including the US, the UK, Sweden, the Netherlands, Japan, South Korea and South Africa.
Referring to future plans, he says Bharati Vidyapeeth is planning to promote a private university - the Sonhira Globus University - that will come up on a 300-acre plot near Pune. Various state governments are encouraging educational institutions to set up private universities to meet the growing demand for higher education. India already has 73 private universities, and recently the Maharashtra government has approved many such varsities.
Another plan is to set up a medical college in Navi Mumbai, next to its existing facilities at CBD Belapur. BVDU Medical College, Pune, has started short-term, value-added integrated medical courses and fellowship programmes, besides regular undergraduate and post-graduate programmes. Its three-year MSc programme in medical microbiology, bio-chemistry, etc., are popular, especially among students from the Gulf.
Kadam says BVDU also plans to start a teacher's training academy, besides offering skills development programmes. The university spends almost Rs70 million every year in concessions to needy students. It has also adopted about 300 female students, who are provided free education, boarding and lodging.
BVDU also offers limited seats for a four-year Bachelor's degree in Audiology and Speech Language Pathology (BASLP) programme. Recently, the Government of India, under its scheme of assistance to disabled persons for purchase/fitting of aids/appliances (ADIP scheme), selected BVDU as the only facility in western Maharashtra for conducting cochlear implants. It provides Rs900,000 as aid for conducting a surgery. There are about 80 patients on the waiting list for the procedure.
Many of the constituents and research units of BVDU have also been getting grants from the government. In all, it has received about Rs480 million as grants from different central government agencies for conducting research projects this year.
The food-testing laboratory at BVDU has also received funding of Rs50 million from the government.
According to Dr Asmita Wele, Director, International Centre, BVDU, the university has also signed memorandum of understanding with various international universities. One such agreement, signed with the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency for its Linnaeus Palme Exchange Programme grants, takes off in October.
Two BVDU faculty members - one each from the School of Nursing and the Social Science Centre - will be conducting classes at Mälardalen University in Sweden in October. Likewise, two professors from Sweden will come to Pune in February 2016 to conduct classes for a few weeks under this faculty exchange programme.
"This will give good opportunity to our students to learn from international faculty members," remarks Dr Wele. "We have also signed MoUs with universities in Russia and the UK for conducting workshops for faculty and for exchanging students." She points out that BVDU also plans to launch capacity building and skills development programmes for professionals including doctors from Africa and other parts of the world at its campus.
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