In only four year time, St Xavier’s University, Kolkata, is already turning out to be the first choice for those, who are desirous of getting value-based education, while strengthening the pluralistic realities of the nation. The fledgling university is practicing and establishing the Ignatian charism with an aim to form men and women for others. Speaking to Fortune India Exchange, Fr Felix Raj, Founder Vice-Chancellor, St Xavier’s University, outlines how they are focusing on quality outcomes in access, pedagogy, research, consultancy and innovation in education, enrolment of students and their employability, to emerge as a true Centre of Excellence in higher education.
St. Xavier’s University, Kolkata was established on February 8, 2017. How has the journey been so far?
As I always say that it is a divine work to establish and run this Jesuit University, I have always found that we have been helped by the Almighty every time. Since beginning, we have been receiving cooperation from noble hearts at various capacities. The journey has been good so far despite all challenges. St. Xavier’s University, Kolkata, within a very short time has appeared to be the first choice for those who are desirous of getting value-based education. We are having students from different corners of the nation which helps us to strengthen the pluralistic realities of the nation. During the pandemic period, regular online classes have been conducted and examinations were held in timely manner. In this ‘new normal’ situation, our faculty members and staffs are committed to provide best education to our students.
How has the pandemic changed the higher education scenario in India?
In 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic appeared as one of the biggest challenges to education sector. We were not ready to meet the overnight transformation of entire teaching-learning process to online platform. Though the urban areas somehow managed the same, the rural sector suffered the worst. Schools and colleges remained shut for a long time which has a deep impact on the career of the students. Especially the primary and secondary schools were the worst sufferers. The situation has been changing gradually. We are also not an exception; but we have meticulously planned our curriculum on time based on the UGC guidelines and have been able to provide the very best to our stakeholders.
How many courses do you offer at present—in which streams? What are the plans like, going forward?
We are presently offering various programs under four major disciplines viz, Arts and Social Sciences, Management, Commerce and Law. Under the Faculty of Arts and Social Studies, the University offers Under-Graduate and Post-Graduate program in English, Mass Communication and Economics. We are also offering Master of Social Work (MSW) and M.A. in Psychology as part of Arts and Social Science faculty. In the Faculty of Commerce and Management, we offer Bachelor of Management Studies (BMS), B.Com and M.Com courses. B.Com course is available in both Morning and Day shifts. We are also offering two years residential, AICTE approved MBA program under the Xavier Business School (XBS). We provide legal education by offering five year integrated, BCI approved B.A. LLB and B.Com LLB programs under the Xavier Law School. The University plans to start the Faculty of Science by offering degrees in Statistics and Computer Science from the 2022-23 academic year.
As you know, a University is the seat of higher education, our University boosts of having more than 80 research scholars in its roll in various disciplines of Commerce, Management, Economics, English and Mass Communication.
The vision behind setting up this new University?
The vision of the St. Xavier’s University Kolkata is to practice and establish the Ignatian charism with an aim to form men and women for others. As a Centre of Excellence, the University strives to promote a society based on love, freedom, liberty, justice, equality, and fraternity.
What is your take on the new Education Policy? What are the key changes this new policy may bring in?
The New Education Policy 2020 aims to pave the path for major transformational reforms in the entire higher education sector. We believe that the NEP 2020 will develop the education scenario of the country which in turn will make India a global superpower in education ensuring equity, access, and inclusion of all segments of society.
How do you propose to turn this university into a true Centre of Excellence in higher education?
As a Jesuit University, we are focusing on quality outcomes in access, pedagogy, research, consultancy and innovation in education, enrolment of students and their employability. This University reaches out to everyone, thus maintaining the vision of equity. We are in the process of continuously augmenting our infrastructure with adding new buildings, sports facilities, cafeteria, state-of-the-art classrooms, laboratory, and library. We believe that we shall be able to reach our goals through this constructive outcomes and academic leadership.
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