Shillong, May 15: The North Eastern Hill University (Nehu) is setting up Northeast India Centre for Diversity on its campus here to serve as a source of learning about the region’s diversity in the field of language and culture.
The centre, which is under construction on the university campus, can also become an overarching institute for the entire region, Nehu vice-chancellor A.N. Rai told reporters here today.
“At a time when there is a lot of talk on discrimination of students hailing from the Northeast in other cities of the country, I feel this centre can become a source of learning and awareness for those who have little knowledge about the region,” Rai said.
He said the state governments of the region could contribute to the development of the centre, where a variety of programmes relating to Northeast culture and language could be organised.
Rai said the university has proposed an allocation of Rs 400 crore under the Twelfth Plan (2012-2017) for development of infrastructure at Nehu. It had received around Rs 123 crore as general development grant in the Eleventh Plan, a 300 per cent hike from the previous plan.
The Rs 400-crore proposal includes a component of around Rs 25 crore to start a Nehu campus at Jowai in Jaintia hills. For years now, there has been a demand to have a Nehu campus at Jowai on the lines of the Tura campus.
As new courses like mass communication, nanotechnology, energy engineering, horticulture, architecture and hotel management are likely to be introduced next year, it has also been proposed to construct a new academic complex within the university to house these new departments.
The university also proposes to renovate all existing hostels and construct new ones at a cost of Rs 60 crore. New housing units for employees are also proposed to be constructed.
Rai also said the semester system at the undergraduate level was likely to take off from next academic year. Most college principals have accepted the idea and the final report has been submitted to the university’s academic council, which might incorporate last-minute changes, he added.
As the new system will increase the workload on colleges, Rai said the three-years semester system would start with just a few courses. “To reduce the workload, there will only be one undergraduate programme, the honours course. Now the undergraduate programme is for both honours and general students. The compulsory internal assessment will also not take off immediately,” he added.
The university has also proposed three names to the President, who is also the visitor of the university, for selection of a new chancellor who would replace M.G.K. Menon. The three names are that of G. Mehta, former director of ISC, Bangalore and Andre Beteille, former chancellor of Nehu, and Mrinal Miri, former vice-chancellor of Nehu.
Rai appealed to pressure groups and other organisations to exempt educational institutions, including Nehu, from the purview of strikes and road blockades, as these have serious long-term implications. “If general strikes and road blockades continue, everything will come to a standstill. My request is that educational institutions should be exempted from these,” he said.