Puducherry is a Union Territory with one of the highest levels of quality of life in the country with excellent physical infrastructure and almost a hundred per cent literacy level. It is also the place where Sri Aurobindo and the Mother chose to stay and their writings remain a tremendous source of spiritual awakening that emphasizes the progress of humanity and its spiritual brotherhood. A unique experimental city, Auroville, the brainchild of the Mother, whose inhabitants are drawn from all parts of the world, is situated on the outskirts of the city. Puducherry, which still carries several marks of French culture and heritage, was also the place where the national poet Sri Subramania Bharathiar wrote several of his masterpieces that fanned the flames of freedom and also enriched modern Tamil literature. Bharathidasan, a staunch disciple of Sri Subramania Bharathiar, whose poems stressed social revolution and emancipation of women, was also an eminent son of Puducherry. Therefore, it is, indeed, in the fitness of things that this city, with such an illustrious history, should also have the distinction of housing a Central University that would meet the needs of the people of the Southern states of India, in general and those of Puducherry , in particular, for higher education.
Establishment and Role
Pondicherry University is outstanding among the Central Universities in India. Teaching and research are its primary functions as in other Central Universities. In addition, it has also affiliated colleges located in Puducherry, Karaikal, Mahe, Yanam and the Union Territory of Andaman & Nicobar Islands. The Union Territory of Lakshadweep is also expected to have a college affiliated to Pondicherry University in the near future. The Pondicherry University was established by an Act of Parliament (No. 53,1985) with the following objectives :
- to disseminate and advance knowledge by providing instructional and research facilities;
- to make special provisions for studies in French and for integrated courses in Humanities and Sciences in the educational programmes, and
- to take appropriate measures for promoting inter-disciplinary studies and research.
The vast jurisdiction over three Union Territories gives the University a national character. The residents speak diverse languages such as Tamil, Hindi, Bengali, Malayalam, Telugu, English and French.
Puducherry, which is situated on the Coromandal coast, 160 k.m. south of Chennai, attracted the French to settle here two centuries ago, is now a growing city and the capital of the Union Territory . With a population of nearly 10 lakhs spread over a limited land area (13" 44" N; 80ø"E), it is a cosmopolitan city with people not only from Indian subcontinent but also from all the continents of the world. The Romain Rolland Library, more than a century and half old , with several rare French and Tamil manuscripts, is a veritable repository of treasures. The Puducherry museum houses rare kinds of pottery from the Arikkamedu site which was a bustling port city in the first century A.D. where Roman ships called in for trade and friendship. The intellectual activities are fostered in many of its institutions such as Sri Aurobindo Ashram (where the teachings of Sri Aurobindo resonate), the French Institute (which caters to research needs in Science, Indology and Culture), and JIPMER (which undertakes frontier research in medicine. Pondicherry University is located 12 k.m.) from this beautiful and active city. Frequent buses on the East Coast Road connect the city and University campus to Chennai. Puducherry is also accessible by rail from Chennai. There is an airport and a minor port, which, however, handles freight.
The main campus of the University has a sprawling area of 780 acres spread on either side of the East Coast Road with the large chunk on the landward side of the road. The land is an invaluable gift from the people and the Government of Puducherry for the establishment of the University. The land gently rolls down to the beaches and is interspersed with lovely woods. Cut by a picturesque and deep ravine, this idyllic campus is on the fast-track to developing into an ideal nurturing ground for innovation and creativity.
The University is fully supported by the University Grants Commission. The University is a member of the Association of Indian Universities and the Association of Commonwealth Universities.
The teaching faculty consists of more than 389 active and erudite members in different Schools, Departments and Centres. Currently, there are around 4375 students pursuing their post-graduate and doctoral programmes on the campus. These apart, several thousand students are on the rolls of the University through the Community College, the Directorate of Distance Education and 85 affiliated colleges, which contribute to the richness of the University's academic. Besides, the Semester in India Programme (SIP) attracts several foreign students who visit every year.
The University is academically organized at several levels for efficient functioning. The teaching and research are carried out in the Schools which facilitate and promote inter-disciplinary work. Each School consists of several departments where teaching programmes in a specific subject area are conducted.
The primary objective of all the academic efforts is to build a strong foundation with all necessary infrastructure for expanding the horizons of knowledge and disseminate it efficiently and effectively. Extension activities are also an integral part of the University's activities.
The University's commitment to innovation in the field of education is reflected in several spheres. It was the first University in India to provide the students with choice of the elective courses they want to study in addition to the major subject area under the so called "Choice Based Credit System"(CBCS). The students can now choose courses from other Departments and Schools to augment their knowledge base, so that they can face the highly competitive world, on their graduation, with confidence.
The corporate life of the University is further enriched by the inputs from visiting teachers. The University, as it is committed to the furtherance of the students knowledge, organizes several Endowment lectures and Foundation lectures by eminent personalities. These lectures provide the students and teachers alike with an updated and deep insight into many areas of study and go a long way in motivating them to excel in their chosen fields.
The University's effort in teaching and research is furthered by several governmental and non-governmental organizations, which provide funds for research and extension activities.
The University has Memoranda of Understanding (MOU)/Agreements with the following domestic and overseas Universities/ Institutions :
- University of Paris 13, Villetaneuse Cedex
- Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bengaluru
- Confidentiality Agreement with Nicholas Piramal India Ltd, Mumbai
- Agreement of Cooperation with Tata Consultancy Services Ltd, Mumbai
- Instiute Francaise, Puducherry
- International Crops Research Institute for the Semi Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) , Patancheru, Andhra Pradesh, India
- Institute of Cultural Anthropology and African Studies of University of Munich, Germany, and Kathmandu University, Nepal.