Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE) was recently awarded the status of Institute of Eminence. This, the college authorities say, has been availed only by two private universities in the country so far. In an interview, vice chancellor of MAHE, H Vinod Bhat, speaks of the importance of getting the status, educational programmes the institute offers and more. Here are the excerpts.
MAHE has been granted the ‘Institute of Eminence’ status. What does this mean to the academy?
We are one among the only two private institutes in the country to have availed this status. It is, in fact, an acknowledgement of our work and affirmation of faith that we have the potential to grow. It has now opened up a vista for new initiatives and makes way for us to start a range of interdisciplinary courses.
Where do you see yourself in the near future?
We are looking at setting up three new campuses in Bengaluru, Jamshedpur and Sri Lanka. Here we are looking at offering various new courses. One of them would be starting a Law School on the lines of the National Law School. Another is a school of Economics in collaboration with the University of Chicago.
Can you elaborate on the programmes the institute offers? And what are the plans for the Bengaluru campus?
The institution is one of the prominent private universities in the country. It has a student strength of over 30,000 and about 400 courses. We cater to a diverse amount of fields. Our Dental, Hotel Management, Pharmacy, and Medical colleges are one of the top ranking ones in the country. We also give importance to research and infrastructure, besides the quality education, we offer. We also have a museum of anatomy and pathology with quality specimens. That apart, we have students from 50 countries studying here. As for Bengaluru, we hope to have the best faculty here. Currently, we are working on a blueprint and we will shortly begin work. The courses will be introduced in a phased manner.
In terms of research and innovation, what do we see the Bengaluru campus offering students?
We are going to put up an accelerator in Bengaluru, where there will be mentorship. And, where venture capital can be attracted and business plans can be evaluated. We will take manufacturing to Manipal. If there is something that is too bright an idea to be wasting their time for eight months of incubation, we might as well put them through an accelerator where the processes are speeded up and we could have not a prototype but a product at the end. We are looking at specific areas such as medical devices, medical technology and drug discovery. There’s an interdisciplinary play between engineering and medicine here.
Are there any scholarships and grants that are being offered to the students?
We offer two kinds of scholarships. One is a full tuition fee waiver based on the scores in the Manipal Entrance exams or NEET. And, another is a scholarship offered based on the declared income of the parent and the merit of the student. We spend Rs 30 crore annually on this.
What are the student exchange programmes this academy offers?
Manipal has collaborations with universities across the world. There is also a student body that works on getting students internships. We also offer students an option where they can study their first half of the engineering course here and the other half in a foreign university. They get the certificate from the foreign university from where they pursue the course.