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Assam Don Bosco University. Picture by UB Photos

Varsity in pursuit of excellence

Assam Don Bosco University, set up as a response to the educational needs of the people of the region, has as its modus operandi the distinctive educational philosophy and method of Don Bosco institutions worldwide.

Chancellor Fr V.M. Thomas, while delivering the first ever convocation speech on September 19, summed up the uniqueness of the institution. “As you leave Assam Don Bosco University today, you leave not just with education, but you will take your place among the very fortunate. Some of you came here from families where education was expected and emphasised.

Others had to overcome many more obstacles to get here and today perhaps you became the very first member of your family to graduate with a professional degree. What an amazing accomplishment,” he said. Tracing its inception to March 29, 2008 when the government favoured the Don Bosco Society with a “letter of intent” to establish the first state university in the private sector in Assam, the university has made immense strides in all fields — infrastructure, academic and research departments, extension programmes.

From four courses in engineering and technology in 2008, today the university boasts of five schools — school of technology, school of religion and culture, school of social sciences, school of applied sciences and school of commerce and management, conducting six undergraduate programmes, seven post-graduate programmes and doctoral programmes in eight disciplines. The university has over 1,500 students for its campus programmes. Its online and distance education wing, called DBU Global, has over 1,000 online students pursuing a variety of study programmes in management and information technology.

The university gives preferential option to young people from the lower strata of society, providing them with an education and preparing them for a world of work, through research and services. The thrust areas of study and research have three major sectors — technology, service and social sectors. The technology sectors include information and related fields, biotechnology and related fields.

The service sectors cover nursing, pharmacy, paramedical, psychology, counselling, management, media, arts, teacher education, social work, rural development and related fields. The social sector has religion and culture, ethics, governance and tribal studies and other related fields.

A unique feature of the university is its Northeast India Outreach Programme that offers full scholarship to 1,000 students from Northeast India to pursue its online courses. The university is in the process of setting up facilitation centres in the Northeast for deserving students. Don Bosco University aims at excellence in teaching. It offers a basket of “finishing school” skills and quality placements for each and every student.

Every process in the system comes under the purview of continuous and ongoing evaluation. A sustained proactive alumni association is to carry forward the lifelong learning of the university students and their partnership with the vision of their alma mater.

A staff reporter

Role of private universities

Fr V.M. Thomas, chancellor, Assam Don Bosco University

The impact of globalisation and India’s policy of liberalisation in its wake is visible everywhere, including education. The education sector is enjoying autonomy of sorts. The private players are encashing the students’ hunger for higher education and establishing private colleges in every state. The present state-run universities are incapable of providing enough seats for the willing and serious students who intend to pursue higher studies. Such a void can be filled by private universities only if they cut down their fees.

Private universities are not only instrumental in providing important succour to the system of higher education but also bring about excellence in education so that the students here can be on a par with their foreign counterparts in knowledge, skill and information and compete with the those of model universities like Harvard, Yale, Cambridge and Oxford. But the country also needs to develop exclusive professional manpower to acquire a cutting edge in global competitiveness.

A demand for good education can be met only with self-financing private universities, which are not only multi-disciplinary but also centres of excellence.
A country’s socio-economic development is directly proportional to its education systems. In order to take our nation to dizzy heights, we need to spread education to its every corner. Higher education should also be modern in content and methodology.