Offer liberal arts education, inter-disciplinary programmes

With cut-offs for admission to Delhi University soaring, it is wise to put your eggs in many baskets and consider a range of private universities. For instance, Ashoka University and BML Munjal University are the two new entrants, besides Shiv Nadar University (SNU)which is all set to enter its fourth year.

‘Customisation’ of degree

Ashoka University offers interdisciplinary majors where a student can study science and entrepreneurship at the same time, says Vineet Gupta, the university’s Founder and trustee and MD of Jamboree Education. Similarly, BML Munjal — run by the Hero Group — offers a ‘make-your-own-degree’ option. “A student of MBA can take classes in engineering as well,” explains Akshay Munjal, Executive Director, BML Munjal University.  

Ashoka and BML Munjal are in total offering 890 seats across engineering, management and arts courses.

BML will admit 540 students in its first phase — 360 for engineering, 60 each for BBA, MBA and BCom, while Ashoka will accept around 350 students for its four-year undergraduate programmes in its maiden year.

Both universities, based in Haryana, were set up after legislative approval from the State government. The two are, however, yet to be inspected by the UGC. Gautam Buddh Nagar-based SNU too offers several programmes including six undergraduate engineering courses. The universities have their own evaluation system in place to screen applicants.

Foreign collaboration

Gupta says that Ashoka University offers better proposition to students seeking a liberal arts and sciences education, similar to universities abroad, but at a lower cost. His university has tied up with University of Pennsylvania, University of Michigan and Carleton College for exchange programmes and course modules. Similarly, SNU has partnered with Carnegie Mellon University, Duke University, University of Pennsylvania, Babson College and Essex University.

BML Munjal has roped in Imperial College, London, to play a mentoring role in the formation and operation of the School of Management and School of Commerce. It will also be the academic mentor for the School of Engineering and Technology. The universities are also toying with online courses, drawing up plans for massive open online courses (MOOCs). “One argument that goes against private universities is the phenomenal fee, but with generous scholarships and stipends offered to students, it can be ruled out,” BalaKrishnan says.

(This article was published on June 16, 2014)
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