The dream of having a Kerala campus of the English and Foreign Languages University is close to realisation, as land is being allocated to the prestigious institution in Malappuram, G. KRISHNAKUMAR writes.

The Kerala campus of the prestigious Hyderabad-based English and Foreign Languages University (EFL University) will soon take shape after a delay of over three years.

The proposal received a shot in the arm when the State Cabinet recently decided to allocate 30 hectares of land at Panakkad in Malappuram for the campus.

If the project is implemented, the campus will be the third centre of the university outside Hyderabad. Besides the main campus, the university now has regional centres in Shillong and Lucknow.

The English and Foreign Languages University Act, 2006, passed by Parliament, gives it an all-India jurisdiction and allows it to have more campuses, apart from those in Hyderabad, Lucknow and Shillong.

Education Minister P.K. Abdu Rabb told The Hindu-EducationPlus that another 10 hectares of land, adjacent to the proposed site, would be earmarked for setting up common facilities. The land was currently in the possession of Infrastructure Kerala Ltd. (INKEL), in which the State government has stake.

The Minister said the government planned to speed up the process of handing over the land to the university. The project would enhance the image of Kerala as a higher education destination. “It will be a major landmark for the State,” he said.

The proposal to set up the campus was taken up by the previous Left Democratic Front government, identifying nearly 35 hectares at Thinkalkarikkam, near Pathanapuram, in Kollam district.

The then Education Minister, M.A. Baby, had held several rounds of discussions with the university authorities, but the project could not materialise for want of support from the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development.

Mr. Rabb said the Ministry had now responded positively to the proposal, besides promising support under the 12th Five Year Plan. The University Grants Commission (UGC) had given its green signal for the project.

P. Madhavan, Officer on Special Duty (Academic Affairs) and Dean, Research, of the university, said over the phone from Hyderabad that the university had requested a financial assistance of Rs. 120 crore under the 12th Plan for the Kerala campus. The plan was to start the courses in a small scale from the next academic year after the land was handed over to the university.

Professor Madhavan said the regional campus would have academic courses suited to the local needs, besides the regular programmes of the university.

The university would set up the infrastructure required for the project.

The original proposal prepared by the university in the initial stages of the initiative says the Kerala campus will be a full-fledged campus and not merely a regional centre.

The university will build classrooms; administrative structures; hostels for at least 3,000 students; guesthouses for Indian and foreign guests and trainees (at least 300 rooms); and playgrounds and other sports facilities of international standards on the proposed site.

Courses

The academic programmes proposed for the Kerala campus include five-year integrated MA courses in English and Foreign Languages and Journalism and Mass Communication and B.Ed. and M.Ed. (English language). Subsequently, M.Phil. and Ph.D. courses in Education; training programmes for school and college teachers (English); postgraduate certificate and diploma courses in the teaching of English; M.Phil. and Ph.D. courses in various disciplines; short-term need-based proficiency courses in English and foreign languages for Indian learners; short-term need-based proficiency courses in English and foreign languages for foreign learners; and degree programmes in English and other subjects for foreign students coming from non-English-speaking countries will be offered.

The university will set up the entire infrastructure required for the campus. The initial project cost has been estimated at Rs. 50 crore.

The campus will focus on disseminating instructional, research and extension facilities in the teaching of English and foreign languages and literature in the country.

It will take appropriate measures for inter-disciplinary studies and research in literary and cultural studies and develop a critical intercultural understanding of civilisations.

To realise the mandate given, the university has plans to strengthen the existing academic programmes offered in classroom and distance modes.

Some of the courses, including the five-year integrated MA programmes in English, Arabic, French, German, Russian and Spanish and Mass Communication and Journalism; a year’s full-time intensive advanced diploma course in Russian; and a Ph.D. programme in English (Linguistics and Phonetics) on the Lucknow campus have attracted a large number of aspirants.