The first two Schools of Nalanda University, which is being built near the ruins of the ancient academic institution in Bihar with assistance from a number of ASEAN member countries, will commence its courses from next month.
In her address at the East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers Meeting, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said, "The first two Schools of Nalanda University, the Schools of
Historical Studies and Ecology and Environment Studies, will begin programmes from the academic year starting September 2014. "We would like to welcome students from the EAS countries to these Schools," she said.
India had signed agreements with seven countries October last year during the East Asia Summit (EAS) in Brunei and the countries had pledged their commitment to the ambitious Nalanda University project.
The Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) were signed with Australia, Cambodia, Singapore, Brunei, New Zealand, Lao PDR and Myanmar.
Talking about cooperation in education sector, Swaraj in her address said cooperation in education amongst EAS countries can have both a demographic as also a developmental impact.
"This is why EAS members should agree to some equivalence of qualifications. Transfer of learning from one country to another in terms of syllabi, faculty exchanges, short-term credit courses etc. can be attempted at the institutional- to-institutional level," she said.
Swaraj had arrived here to participate in the ASEAN-India Foreign Ministers Meeting, East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers Meeting and ASEAN Regional Forum Meeting.
The 10 ASEAN nations are Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Laos, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
The idea to revive Nalanda University was first mooted in 2005 by then President APJ Abdul Kalam. The university is being built near the ruins of the historic academic place by the same name in Bihar and those involved with this project include Nobel laureate Amartya Sen.
Indian government had enacted the Nalanda University Act, 2010 to implement the decisions arrived at the Second East Asia Summit held in January, 2007 in the Philippines and subsequently at the Fourth East Asia Summit in Thailand for establishment of the Nalanda University.
The East Asia Summit is a forum for co-operation between various countries of this region with ASEAN and includes Australia, China, India, Japan, Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Russia and the US, in addition to the ten ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) countries.
In her address, Swaraj also touched upon range of issues including wildlife trafficking. "We support the combating of wildlife trafficking as a priority area, which has direct impact on bio-diversity and environmental conservation efforts."
Identifying energy security as a priority area, she said "the agenda for collaboration on energy should show greater ambition, especially in the sectors of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies".