Academic activities began at Nalanda University at Rajgir today, more than eight centuries after the ancient university was destroyed by a medieval ruler.
Out of the 15 students enrolled in the university so far nine attended classes on the inaugural day in the departments of environmental studies and history, the two subjects which will be taught here in the first session.
The students were welcomed in person by Vice-chancellor Gopa Sabharwal, who also greeted the teachers and staff to the reborn university amdist enthusiasm by those present at the occasion.
The students who attended the inaugural classes were Arun Gandhi, Lubna Khan, Ranjit Kumar, Jyotimoy Kandula, Nawang (Bhutan), Asi Alawat, Yakiro Nakamora (Japan), Daniel and Sanah Salah.
The six teachers were Mihir Dev (Delhi), Somnath Bandopadhyaya (Delhi), Samuel Wright (California), Yin Ker (Malaysia), Kashyap Ghani (Kolkata) and Shrawan Mukherji (Kolkata), university sources said.
Talking to reporters later, Sabharwal said the resumption of classes at the ancient educational institute was the result of nine years of hard work and hoped it will grow from strength to strength.
Asked about the enrollment of very few students, she said it was due to the lack of publicity about the international university.
She was, however, confident that more and more students from across the globe would join Nalanda University in large numbers when the institution rolls out world-class academic facilities in the future.
"We have received applications for admission from 1400 students of 35 countries for the different subjects that we propose to launch at Nalanda university," she said.
The university has decided to teach only two subjects in the inagural session and two more would be introduced in the next academic session, decision on which would be taken by the board members.
Besides the two subjects for which classes began today a total seven others would be introduced at the university, she added.
The Nalanda University VC said Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is likely to visit the university campus on September 14 to take stock of infrastructure and related requirements.
The construction of the university's buildings would begin soon, she said.
Sabharwal thanked former Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar for his efforts to re-launch the ancient seat of learning. She along with the governing council members hailed him for his 'stupendous work'.
Kumar had launched the project to revive Nalanda University in his home district by taking a cue from former president A P J Abdul Kalam, who had proposed the idea while addressing to a joint session of the Bihar legislature in 2006.
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