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India must become center of education and knowledge for the world: PM Modi Inaugurates New Nalanda University Campus in Bihar

3 weeks ago
thedialog
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India must become center of education

In a significant milestone for India’s educational landscape, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the new campus of Nalanda University on Wednesday, 19 June.

Located near the ancient ruins of the original Nalanda University, the new institution is a collaborative effort involving India and East Asia Summit (EAS) countries, designed to reignite the region’s illustrious legacy of learning.

Dignitaries from around the globe, including the Heads of Missions from 17 countries, attended the ceremony, underscoring the event’s international significance.

 

Reviving an Ancient Legacy

Prime Minister Modi emphasized the symbolic importance of reviving Nalanda University near its ancient ruins, positioning it as a testament to India’s enduring commitment to knowledge and education. “Nalanda is not just a name, it is an identity, a regard. Nalanda is the root, it is the mantra,” he remarked.

The new university aims to mirror the inclusivity of its ancient predecessor by admitting students from over 20 countries.

 

A Model of Sustainability

Modi highlighted the eco-friendly features of the new campus, designed to be a ‘Net Zero’ Green Campus.

“The Nalanda Campus with its pioneering Net Zero Energy, Net Zero Emission, Net Zero Water, and Net Zero Waste model will carry forward the spirit of sustainability,” he stated, underlining India’s commitment to sustainable development.

The campus includes a solar plant, water recycling facilities, and 100 acres of water bodies, positioning it as a leader in environmental stewardship.

nalanda University

Global Educational Hub

Reflecting on India’s broader educational ambitions, Modi expressed his vision for India as a global center of education by 2047. He pointed to initiatives like Atal Tinkering Labs, the New Educational Policy, and collaborations with international universities as steps towards this goal.

“My mission is that India becomes the center of education and knowledge for the world,” he declared. Modi cited the rise in Indian educational institutions in global rankings and the establishment of numerous new institutions over the past decade as evidence of this progress.

 

Historical Significance and Modern Aspirations

Nalanda University, originally established in the fifth century, was one of the world’s first residential universities. It attracted scholars from across Asia, thriving for 800 years until its destruction in the 12th century. The ruins of the ancient university were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2016. 

The modern university began operations in 2014 with just 14 students and has grown significantly since then. It now hosts six schools, including the School of Buddhist Studies, Philosophy & Comparative Religions, the School of Historical Studies, and the School of Ecology and Environmental Studies.

 

International Collaboration and Student Diversity

Nalanda University’s revival has been bolstered by support from 17 countries, including Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, Indonesia, and Thailand, which have signed Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) to facilitate this project. 

The university offers 137 scholarships to international students, drawing students from diverse countries such as Argentina, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Ghana, Kenya, Nepal, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, the USA, and Zimbabwe.

PM Modi Inaugurates

Speeches by Dignitaries

The event saw speeches from other prominent figures, including External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. 

Jaishankar praised the revival of Nalanda as a “global bridge of learning,” while Kumar lauded its “glorious history” and the ongoing efforts to restore its past prominence.

 

Future Prospects

Modi called upon the students of Nalanda to embody the values of curiosity, courage, and kindness, emphasizing their role in shaping a better world. 

“I believe Nalanda will become an important center for global cause,” he concluded, envisioning a bright future for the institution as a beacon of knowledge and international cooperation.

 

Campus Facilities

The new campus boasts state-of-the-art facilities, including two academic blocks with 40 classrooms, auditoriums, a student hostel with a capacity of 550 students, an International Centre, an amphitheater that can accommodate up to 2000 individuals, a Faculty Club, and a Sports Complex, all designed to support a vibrant academic community.

 

Educational Excellence

The Prime Minister also highlighted various educational initiatives and achievements of his government. He noted the increase in the number of Indian institutions in global rankings, the establishment of one university every week, a new ITI every day, and an Atal Tinkering Lab every third day over the past decade. 

 

These efforts have expanded India’s educational infrastructure significantly, with the number of IITs growing to 23, IIMs to 21, and AIIMS to 22. The number of medical colleges has almost doubled in the same period. 

With the inauguration of its new campus, Nalanda University is set to reclaim its historic status as a global center of learning, blending ancient traditions with modern educational practices.