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India is one of the leading nations for higher education in the world, next to China and USA. The Ministry of Human Resource and Development wishes to inculcate quality education in institutes and aims to reach the target Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) of 30% by 2020 by establishing new multidisciplinary private and deemed-to-be universities. In the last decade, many new universities like Shiv Nadar University, OP Jindal University, Ashoka University have been set up. Comparatively older ones like Amity University and Sikkim Manipal University are developing several interdisciplinary programs which are meant to attract students from India and abroad alike.
Foraying into this arena is the telecommunications magnate Mukesh Ambani of Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) who has proposed to offer Rs 1500 crores to the government’s Empowered Expert Committee (EEC) for investment in the upcoming Reliance Jio University/Jio Institute, reports the Economic Times. This university shall be set up by the Reliance Foundation Institution of Education and Research (RFIER). The institute has been awarded Institute of Eminence status of the Government.
JIO University aims to develop an internationally acclaimed center for learning, for which notable experts of Stanford University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Northwestern University and Nanyang Technological University have been consulted.
Location- The Jio Institute campus will be spread over about 800 acres in the town of Karjat, located on the outskirts of Mumbai. It is going to be a residential university and plans to acquir more land for the are underway. The building process will be completed by 2021.
Campus- The campus will include residential quarters for the faculty and dormitories for students. The JIO University campus will be a ‘green campus’ and plans for garden and many open spaces built in natural surroundings. The model is said to be inspired by Atlanta and Cambridge universities.
Academic Session- According to latest news reports, Reliance Jio University will begin its first academic session in the year 2021.
Programs Offered- Jio University aims to be an interdisciplinary institute which will offer courses centered on emerging skills market; which include Digital Media, Artificial Intelligence, Data Science, Integrated Marketing and Communication, Engineering, Computer Science, Sports Sciences, Humanities, Law and a number of other industry-oriented programs. The Artificial Intelligence, Data Science and Digital media programs shall be introduced at the undergraduate level. It is also expected that, Mulhern of Northwestern University will be facilitating the Marketing Communication program and JIU’s head Data Scientist would teach Artificial Intelligence courses.
Faculty and Staff: The Reliance Industries’ Chairman Mukesh Ambani and his wife Nita Ambani will take position as the first members of the governing council. Daughter Isha Ambani shall be a Director at the RFIER. A total of six council members shall be recruited who will be experts from education and professional fields. The faculty recruitment program is ongoing from September 2019 and will continue till October 2020. International mentors from renowned universities like Stanford, and MIT among others will also be invited.
SRM University has signed an MOU with Reliance JIO University, which will focus on professional training of students in the fields of Engineering, Management and Science and Humanities. Students shall be provided state-of-the-art technology in labs and certificate courses for socially and economically deprived students as well.
JIO university aims to be ranked in top 500 on Times Higher Education and QS World University Rankings. It plans to do so by recruiting excellent national and international faculty, enrolling foreign students, and building a world-class campus. It will also provide merit-based scholarships worth 38 crores during the first academic year.