Indians plan rebirth for 5th-century university

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tags: universities, India




NEW DELHI — Amartya Sen first saw the colossal, red-brick ruins of Nalanda University at the age of 11. After he told his family that he wanted to be a professor, his grandfather took him to see the remains of what is described as India’s oldest university, a place where history has the cast of epic myth.

Founded in the fifth century, Nalanda at its peak attracted some 10,000 students from across Asia to study Buddhism, law, literature, and philosophy. It is said to have been the first global institution of higher learning — and, Indians note, one created long before the development of universities in Europe.

Mr. Sen, the Harvard economist and Nobel laureate, is now part of an effort to capitalize on Nalanda’s legacy by building a new university with the same name, not far from the original site, in what is now the northeastern state of Bihar. The rebuilt Nalanda University would be a graduate-level institution, meant to bring the latest research and teaching practices to the country. It is set up as a quasi-public university, receiving government funds but freed from some national and state rules to give it more flexibility....




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