Hyderabad & Kolkata plan meta varsities

Written by Kirtika Suneja | New Delhi | Updated: Jun 6 2012, 07:44am hrs
Following in the footsteps of Delhi, universities in Kolkata and Hyderabad will soon establish their own meta university a network of universities which allow students to choose courses from across disciplines from different institutions.

The ministry of human resource development has written letters to the vice-chancellors of the Kolkata and Hyderabad universities to explore opportunities for launching meta universities on the lines proposed by the leading educational institutions of Delhi.

For the first such university in the country, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Jamia Milia Islamia, Delhi University and Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi have come together and have initiated work of launching meta university and commencing courses from the next session. These institutions have identified three principal areas of climate change, public health and education with each institution utilising its existing infrastructure and capabilities.

The foundation of meta universities rides on the National Knowledge Network to promote multidisciplinary learning.

The broadband backbone linking institutions of excellence in specific fields of knowledge would provide the communication infrastructure while the open access movement and allied initiatives will form the knowledge base and content. The proposed meta university would be a collaborative platform for a network of universities to come together and offer courses in a variety of disciplines, said a ministry official. This model would allow students and teachers to access and share teaching materials, scholarly publications, research work, scientific works in progress and virtual experiments thereby promoting trans-disciplinary research

In fact, Jadhavpur University, Calcutta University and the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta are also mulling a meta university in West Bengal. Meta universities involve establishment of centres of inter-disciplinary research by creating a university in virtual space linking institutions of higher learning in physical space into a collaborative unit. PM Manmohan Singh had announced the first meta university in the country while releasing the first report of National Innovation Council last year.

Moreover, the University Grants Commission (UGC) has started the process of framing guidelines for meta universities which would delineate the institutional structure required and the framework and modalities for collaboration between different institutions besides the competence of these institutions to issue dual and joint degrees.