Pune-based Symbiosis International Educational Centre (SIEC) will open its first campus outside Pune in Delhi by next year. After being granted Deemed University status by the Ministry of Human Resource Development in May 2002, it plans to open more campuses not only in India but also in countries like Oman, Mauritius and Thailand.
Deemed University status has been granted to three institutes run by SIEC: the Symbiosis Institute of Computer Studies and Research, Symbiosis Institute of Business Management and its Law College. This places SIEC on par with other central or state universities, allows it to open its campuses both in India and abroad, conduct its own exams and confer its own degrees.
SIEC is at present looking for a suitable location in Delhi and is likely to settle for a 40-acre plot in Dwarka. Its Delhi initiative will begin with the opening of a Law College. In Pune also, Symbiosis has bought an 80-acre plot on the outskirts of the city for its new campus.
Says SIEC Deemed University Chancellor SB Majumdar, ‘‘At Symbiosis, Pune, we have a large number of students from the northern states, so our Delhi campus would essentially target these students. There is also a sizeable number from Third World countries. So we are also looking at opening campuses in Oman, Thailand and Mauritius. We hope to have both initiatives in place by 2005.’’
It is presently scouting for partners in these three countries. It will run undergraduate and post-graduate courses besides management development programmes (MDPs) since lack of training facilities has been identified as weak area in these countries. In Oman, where it plans to open a Centre for Distance Learning also, it is in talks with the influential Khemji group.
Dr Majumdar, a professor in Botany at Fergusson College, set up the Symbiosis International Cultural & Educational Centre in 1971, primarily to promote friendship and understanding between foreign and Indian students studying in Pune, after seeing the plight of foreign students, specially Afro-Asians. Since then, 24 institutions have been set up by the Symbiosis Society, with a total strength of 30,000 students, imparting 112 courses ranging from KG, primary and secondary education, to law,
HRD, foreign trade, management, computer education, arts and commerce and IT among others.
It also runs a Centre for Long Distance Learning which has 45,000 students enrolled for correspondence and online courses.