A dream that was kindled when St. Xavier’s College became autonomous in 2006 is set to become reality. The principal of the Park Street institution submitted a proposal for its upgrade to a university to the higher education minister on Thursday.
“Minister Bratya Basu promised to do everything to speed up the process. We have also given the proposal to the chief minister. I will be meeting her after Puja,” said principal Father Felix Raj.
During the college’s convocation ceremony in January, chief guest Mamata Banerjee had urged the institution to submit an upgrade proposal. In April, the chief minister had allotted 16 acres of land in Action Area III, opposite the Rosedale Garden residential project, to the college.
The proposal submitted on Thursday justifies the need for a St. Xavier’s university and elaborates on academic and administrative plans. The college has proposed that the state take care of the annual recurring expenditure of about Rs 25 crore. Other developmental expenditure, about Rs 100 crore per annum, will be borne by the college. “We want the university to be state-aided so we have proposed that the government bear the recurring expenses like salaries,” said Felix Raj.
The ball was set rolling on the proposal with the appointment of a think tank with principal Felix Raj as convener. Calcutta University vice-chancellor Suranjan Das, industrialist and Xaverian Sanjiv Goenka, Xaverian Snehasis Sur and two senior teachers were part of the think tank. “The governing body of the college recently approved the proposal,” said Felix Raj.
Apart from expanding undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, the university wants to start PhD programmes. It also has plans for starting an engineering institute and a business school.
If upgraded, St. Xavier’s will be the first Jesuit university in India. The Jesuits run 46 university colleges in the country.