| Patna University. Telegraph picture |
The Patna University administration, in its effort to draw students from outside Bihar and abroad, is planning to start the proposed Centre for Buddhist Studies and Research from July.
The centre, which would have an intake of 40 students for postgraduation studies, has been approved by the senate and the syndicate of the university and also received Raj Bhavan’s consent.
The course would be taught from the academic session beginning July. The eligibility criteria for the course, which will be on various facets of Buddhist history and literature, will be graduation. The course would cover topics taught in foreign universities and cover aspects like history of Buddhism in India, Buddhist philosophy, Buddhist social thought, Buddhist art and architecture in India and development of Buddhism.
If Patna University manages to launch the course by July, it would be ahead of Nalanda University. According to sources, the Nalanda University administration is planning to start academic activities from the 2014-15 academic session. It also plans to set up residential facilities for faculty members and students to be associated with two schools — historical studies and ecology and environment studies.
Patna University vice-chancellor Shambhu Nath Singh said: “The idea behind launching the centre for Buddhist studies and research is that students having degree in Buddhist studies are much in demand in Japan, China and south-east Asian countries.”
He added: “In the initial phase, we would take the service of philosophy, ancient history and archaeology teachers to run the new course. The centre will have seven teachers and two research assistants. I have also talked to senior officials from International Buddhist Association and Buddhist studies department from Delhi University. They have pledged to help us running the course.”
While International Buddhist Association has assured help in terms of funds and academics, the Delhi University faculty have pledged assistance in terms of academics.
The sources said the new course would help the Patna University to be back on the international map of academics because students from other countries would once again start getting admission to the institution for the course. In the 1970s, many students from African countries used to pursue linguistic courses, particularly Arabic and Persian, at Patna University.