The special centres of Aligarh Muslim University in Malappuram and Murshidabad became operational on October 13 when the President of India approved the statutory amendments made by the university. Now the university has, for the first time, invited applications for courses to be offered from these centres.

Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) has, for the first time, invited applications for MBA and B.A. L.L.B. programmes this year at its special centres in Malappuram, Kerala, and Murshidabad, West Bengal. November 23 is the last date to apply, said Controller of Examination Pervez Mustajab.

As many as 60 students will be admitted for both MBA and B.A.L.L.B. programmes. The admission will be based on an entrance examination to be held on December 19. There will be only three examination centres – Aligarh (UP), Kozhikode, and Kolkata. The entrance test for MBA will be from 10 a.m. to 12 noon, and for B.A.L.L.B. from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Applicants for the five-year B.A.L.L.B. programme should have at least 50 per cent marks in Plus Two examination. They should not be over 22 years of age as on July 1, 2010. That is, the candidates should be born on or after July 1, 1988.

Graduates of any discipline with 50 per cent marks can apply for the two-year MBA programme. There is no upper age limit. Admission to MBA will be on the basis of an aptitude assessment and group discussion following the entrance examination. Only those qualifying the entrance test will be called for aptitude test, group discussion and interview.

Applications should be submitted online. Application fee is Rs.500 for B.A.L.L.B. and Rs.600 for M.B.A. Details of the application will be available at AMU website, www.amu.ac.in.

An ongoing agitation for the revival of student union on AMU campus at Aligarh had delayed the admission notification by a few days. On October 13, President Pratibha Patil, who is Visitor of the university, approved the statutory amendments made by AMU to start special centres in Malappuram and Murshidabad.

“We could have done many things in the past 12 days but for the student agitation taking place at Aligarh,” said H.S.A. Yahya, officer-on-special duty for AMU Malappuram centre. He said the applications could have been invited at least a week ago. “Unfortunately, much of the time and energy needed for development is spent now for firefighting.”

AMU Vice-Chancellor P.K. Abdul Azis has been making fervent appeals to the students to end their agitation and concentrate on academic progress.

Prof. Azis described the President's approval to the Malappuram and Murshidabad campuses as an addition of a glorious chapter in AMU's long history of serving the national cause. “The President has unlocked the real potential of AMU. It is the greatest tribute our nation is paying to the legendary contributions made by Sir Syed Ahmad Khan for the promotion of education and scientific temper among the people of India,” he said.

According to Prof. Azis, the special centres of AMU indicated the birth of two universities. AMU Executive Council and Court will control the special centres of Malappuram and Murshidabad.

“By 2020, when AMU celebrates its centenary as a Central University, these centres will be full-fledged campuses with potential to become universities,” Prof. Azis said.

He called upon the AMU fraternity to come forward and support the establishment of Malappuram and Murshidabad campuses as world-class centres for higher education, research and training.

AMU enjoys the eighth rank in the top 20 research universities in the country. The ranking has been on the basis of a study conducted by the National Institute of Science Communication and Information Resources (NISCAIR).

The universities having better ranks than AMU are Delhi University, Banaras Hindu University, Jadavpur University, Anna University, Panjab University, Annamalai University, and Madras University. The Cochin University of Science and Technology has won the 14th rank for science research.

The Presidential sanction to the amendments of AMU statutes 6A, 6B, 8A, 14(1), 16(1), 17(2), 18(1), 27(1), 29(2), 35 and 36, has cleared the decks for the establishment of the special centres.

The High Courts of Kerala and Allahabad too have rejected pleas against the AMU opening special centres in Malappuram and Murshidadab. “The court rulings, in fact, were well-timed. Now that the question of AMU opening a distant campus is settled, the court rulings will help us avoid hassles in future,” said Prof. Yahya.

The university will soon appoint directors for the special centres, who will be eligible to represent on the Executive Council and Academic Council. Directors of the centres will be the members on the selections committee for the appointment of teachers of the respective centres. AMU authorities have praised the governments of Kerala and Murshidabad for responding quickly and positively to the university move. The land acquisition process for the Malappuram centre at Chelamala near Perinthalmanna is in its final stage. The State government is acquiring 343 acres of land at Chelalama for the AMU centre. The government has hired three buildings at Perinthalmanna for AMU to launch its academic programmes this year. Apart from an Administrative Block hired in Perinthalmanna town, two buildings will function as hostels for boys and girls.

Classes of B.A.L.L.B. and MBA programmes will be held at the administrative block in the initial years. The State government will provide water and power supply besides constructing approach roads to the Chelamala hill, where the centre is coming up. MU is planning to set up an engineering college, a polytechnic college, a medical college, an arts college, a science college, a hospitality management college, a pharmacy college, a law college, a Unani college, a nursing college, a management institute, and several other institutions similar to the Aligarh campus.

“It will ultimately be a replica of the Aligarh campus, benefiting the educationally backward people of this southern region,” Prof. Yahya said. However, the admission to the first batch is likely to be a disappointment for the university. Admissions to most institutions in the country have already closed, and most students would have opted the courses and institutions of their choice. Few students of high quality may have waited for AMU to open its centre, though the media had reported launching of management and law programmes this year itself.

It was in the backdrop of a startling finding made by the Sachar Committee about the educational backwardness of the Muslim community in the country that AMU decided to open five special centres across the country.

Apart from Malappuram and Murshidabad, AMU had chosen Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh), Pune (Maharashtra), and Kishanganj (Bihar). But these three States are yet to provide land for the proposed centres.