In a significant move that may catapult Nagpur into a major education hub in central India, Symbiosis International University (SIU) gained a foothold in the city. In a grand ground breaking ceremony at Wathoda, Dr SB Majumdar, Chancellor and the Founder President of SIU, laid the foundation stone of the university’s Nagpur campus on January 6, 2017. The Symbiosis group is investing 250 crores on the campus, which will be spread across 75 acres of land near Bhandewadi garbage depot. The presence of Nagpur stalwart leaders – chief minister of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis and union minister Nitin Gadkari – at the event underscored the significance of the event for the city. Both the leaders didn’t deliver any speech though, because of the model code of conduct having been implemented in the wake of local body elections in Nagpur.
The Principal Director of Symbiosis Society Dr Vidya Yeravdekar, in her speech during the event, said, “My father Dr SB Mujumdar established Symbiosis Society in 1978. We now have campuses in Nashik, Hyderabad and Noida. We wanted to have a campus in Central India since quite sometime. So, we zeroed in on Nagpur for the campus, which will also impart education students from other parts of India and the world. I’m glad to announce that is going to be Symbiosis’ second largest campus after Pune. For the first time in the history of Symbiosis, we have reserved 25% seats for the local students (domiciles of Nagpur) with a 15% fee concession.”
Yeravdekar (while referring to the 25% reservation) even chuckled as she said that now Nagpurians would no longer have to send recommendations for admissions through CM Devendra Fadnavis and Nitin Gadkari! She further added, “Like our Hyderabad and Nashik campuses, even Nagpur campus will not be located in the heart of the city. This causes a gradual development in the local area around the campus. I have often been asked as to why did we choose east Nagpur (lesser developed area) over west Nagpur for setting up our campus. But, let me tell you, we were more than happy to build our campus in east Nagpur. With more and more of students graduating from here, would come more industries. This is how a city develops economically. My father is of the view that the local people should be empowered first.”
Yeravdekar also said that Nagpur, being an aviation hub, courses in aviation and airport logistics, along with a top-notch architecture centre, would also be provided to the students.
Dr SB Mujumdar, in his speech, focussed on the need of skill development. He said that if students are skilled enough, they won’t have to run behind jobs, rather companies would chase them. “Our priority shouldn’t just be getting employed. It should also be to become a good human being, said Mujumdar, addressing to a sizeable number of students in the audience. Stressing on the need of Indian style of education, he said, “When we can design our own Indian model of universities, do we really need universities like Oxford, Cambridge, etc?”
Dr Siddharth Kane, VC, Nagpur University, said, “Nagpur, since few years, has been growing at a fast pace. It’s now known as the educational hub.” Telling a tale of his interaction with a student, the VC said, “I once asked a management graduate from Symbiosis the meaning of the word ‘symbiosis’. As expected, he said it never really intrigued him to find out the meaning! I then told him that it’s basically a relationship between the two living beings or groups that depend on each other. In fact, I would like to say that it would be great for Nagpurians to get ‘symbiosis’ education in this era of interdependence.” Talking about media’s comparative analysis between the two universities, Kane said, “Recently, some newspapers even mocked Nagpur University by saying that now with Symbiosis campus in the city, Nagpurians would get the quality education they deserve!”
Expressing his contentment while addressing the media persons after the event, the CM said, “Students from Nagpur, Vidarbha and Central India have go to Pune to pursue their higher education. Thanks to Symbiosis, students will now be able to gain high-end skills in Nagpur too. Also, this would generate employment. I’m genuinely happy for Nagpurians.”
Nagpur Mayor Pravin Datke, NMC commissioner Shravan Hardikar and Vice Chancellor Dr Rajani Gupte, were also present during the occasion.
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Pictures by: Suyash Sethiya