Don Bosco University, Assam’s first private university and the first such venture of the Salesians of Don Bosco in India, will be formally inaugurated by Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi at Tepesia on October 31.
“Providing quality education and making it accessible to the disadvantaged sections of the society are the twin objectives of the university. Empowering the society and contributing to the socio-economic progress of the North-east is our long-term goal,” Fr Stephen Mavely, Don Bosco University Project Coordinator, said at a press conference.
Fr Mavely said that a number of new courses would be available in the university, with thrust on professional subjects for ensuring employability of its products.
“Our goal is to mould young persons into intellectually competent, morally upright, socially committed and spiritually inspired citizens,” he said.
The initial study and research programmes will focus on three broad areas: technology sector, service sector and social sector. “The criteria for selection of these courses will be – focus on cutting-edge contemporary technology, employability of graduates, and the capacity to transform and empower society,” Fr Mavely said.
The university, which already has an engineering college under it with 240 students, will be set up using the infrastructure already available with the Don Bosco Society at Azara, Kharghuli and Maligaon, while additional facilities will be built at the permanent campus at Tepesia.
Fr Mavely said that the fee structure for the students would be quite affordable, and there would be no capitation fee. “In fact, the fee for our engineering college is less than that of any of the similar colleges in the region,” he said, adding that it had also tied up with some banks for facilitating easy study loans to needy students.
Fr Mavely said that the university would not have the authority to bring other institutions under its affiliation under the Assam Private Universities Act-2007, but “we will be having constituent study centres.”
Fr VM Thomas, director, Don Bosco Institute, said that the reason behind the launch of the university in Assam was the “tremendous demand” for such an institution and the backwardness of the North-east region.
He said that special initiatives of the university would include distance education programmes, socially-relevant outreach programmes, and programmes to ensure equity and access.
“Another highlight of the initiatives would be a fully-sponsored residential school within the university complex for 1,000 underprivileged, especially tribal, children,” Fr Thomas said.
Noted economist Dr Jayanta Madhab, who also addressed the press conference, lauded the initiative, saying that any move to spread education needed to be welcomed. “We hope the university, with its focus on professional courses, will boost the education scenario of the State,” he said.