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Jesuits in India to open first university next year



April 23, 2013: India's first Jesuit university will be operational in eastern Indian Odisha state by next year, says Jesuit educationist Father Paul Fernandes, who works on the project. Four years after the idea was proposed for Xavier University, the Odisha state assembly recently passed the Xavier University Bill, 2013, paving way for the establishment of the country's first Jesuit university, Father Fernandes told Business Standard news paper.

"We expect the campus to be ready by this December and operational by July 2014. We are hopeful to move the rural management program by July next year," he said. The priest, director, Xavier Institute of Management in Bhubaneswar said it will be a full-fledged university based in Odisha but they may later expand it to other states too.

The university will not affect the Jesuit's highly successful management school in the state capital. "It will remain as it is and Xavier University will be a separate entity, he said. Four years since the idea was proposed, the cost of the project has escalated from 330 million to 400 million rupees. In the first phase, the cost of developing 200,000 square foot built up area will be around 400 million rupees, he said.

The priest said they plans for the university's second, third and fourth phase with each phase plan to add one or two schools to the University. The vision is "an innovative and of great quality" university and they expect financial support from alumni, friends, donors and "anyone whoever wants to support our venture."

The university will focus on subjects of science and humanities. "Looking at the state's needs, we need to strengthen arts, science, cultural and media education. This, however, would be at a later stage," the priest said. The university has reserved 50 percent of its seats to students from Odisha because of "our commitment to the state," the priest said adding that this "is a unique feature" which "no other private university in the country has."

Source: Business Standard/ Ucanews




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