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India's ancient Nalanda University reopens after 800 years

Sep 02, 2014 09:18 AM IST India India

Rajgir: After more than 800 years, India's ancient University of Nalanda has re-opened with 15 students enrolling in the university. The Union government has sanctioned Rs 2,700 crore for the project which is scheduled to be completed by 2020.

The Nalanda University, an ancient international centre for learning in Bihar which has attracted over 1,000 applications from around the world began its first academic session with 15 students including three from Bihar, and 10 faculty members.

Studies are currently going on at its newly established campus at Rajgir. The University is currently offering seven subjects including history and environment studies.

Nalanda was ancient India's premier University which was destroyed in 1193 by invaders. In 2006, former Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar announced plans to re-develop the university. The Bihar government's plans to re-establish the university campus are set to be completed by 2021.

The university is an initiative of the Indian government and the 18 East Asia Summit (EAS) countries. During his trip to Brunei in October 2013, then prime minister Manmohan Singh had inked agreements with seven EAS countries - Australia, Cambodia, Singapore, Brunei, New Zealand, Laos and Myanmar - that have pledged their commitment to the project.

The NU came into existence by the Nalanda University Act passed by Parliament. Economist Amartya Sen is the Chairman of the Governing Body of the university, while renowned teachers from various countries are its members.

Former Singapore foreign minister George Yeo and Ministry of External Affairs Secretary Anil Wadhwa are also part of the governing body.