Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda
Educational and Research Institute
A Concept Paper
Vivekananda envisioned that Belur Math, the headquarters of
the Ramakrisna Mission, would be a centre of harmony and
synthesis, not only of all religious beliefs and traditions,
but also of the arts and sciences and the various branches
of knowledge, both secular and spiritual. It would be the
centre of great spiritual and cultural awakening. In fact,
on 2 July 1902, just two days before he passed away, standing
on the Belur Math grounds he prophesied: ‘The spiritual impact
that has come to Belur will last fifteen hundred years, and
it will be a great university. Do not think I imagine it;
I see it.’ In another place, Swami Vivekananda clearly wrote:
‘The aim is to gradually develop this Math into an all-round
university.’ Following Swami Vivekananda we believe that Belur
Math and all its large number of branch centres would be centres
radiating the light of secular and spiritual education.
consonance with this vision of Swami Vivekananda, the Mission
has established a deemed university, Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda
Educational and Research Institute (RKMVERI).
present university is intended to realize Swami Vivekananda’s
fundamental educational ideas on imparting life-building,
man-making and character-building education by combining the
best elements of the East and the West. He envisioned an educational
system wherein the rich cultural and spiritual heritage of
our country with its hoary tradition of values like sacredness
of knowledge, shraddha and devotion to truth, on the one hand,
and the Western values of scientific temper, rational investigation,
science and technology, work efficiency, team work and tenacity,
on the other, are taught.
aim of the institute is to provide opportunities for education
and research in the disciplines of arts, sciences and spiritual
studies. Arts will include humanities and social sciences;
sciences will include fundamental and applied sciences of
all categories as well as technology; and spiritual studies
will comprise moral, ethical and value education, and comparative
religious studies in their broadest form. The supplementary
and interdependent character of these three disciplines will
receive special emphasis in this university. Thus there would
be science-based arts and spiritual studies as well as sciences
complemented by arts and spiritual studies. Value education
will therefore be an essential component in all the courses.
start with, this institute would have some major thrust areas
not usually covered by other universities in India. These
are meant to meet two distinct kinds of needs:
1) Need-based and job-oriented professional development
courses aimed essentially at addressing the masses and marginalized
sections of society. These courses would, in large measure,
enable the students to give themselves the jobs they seek
rather than seek them from others. They would also ‘enable
them to stand on their own feet’, to put it in the words
of Swami Vivekananda.
2) Culturally, morally and ethically enriching value-orientating
courses aimed at addressing all the stakeholders in the
field of education, including parents.
courses offered will be designed accordingly. Although the
university would begin by operating in the gap areas not usually
covered or emphasized by other conventional universities (see
under ‘Major Thrust Areas’), courses of the more usual type,
particularly in emergent disciplines like information and
communications, microbiology, bioinformatics and biotechnology,
and nanoscience and nanotechnology will also be on the anvil
and may be gradually started over the years.
Features: A University with a Difference
Belur Math is the headquarters of the Ramakrishna Math and
the Ramakrishna Mission, under whose guidance and overall
administrative control all the branch centres function, the
actual implementation of the policies adopted by the headquarters
and the activities flowing therefrom are, for the most part,
monitored by the branch centres under the supervision of their
respective heads, who, in turn, are appointed by the headquarters.
The newly formed deemed university under the aegis of the
Ramakrishna Mission, its parent body, will also have its central
administrative office at Belur Math.
the institute will be an international university that could
operate from and through any of the branch centres of the
Ramakrishna Mission in India and abroad. Its deemed-university
character does not mean that it is a single institution located
in a particular campus. Rather, it is a cluster of institutions,
all of them belonging to the branch centres of the Ramakrishna
Mission. In this sense, the university is a deemed university
with a difference. This fundamental and unique feature of
the university having been understood, the other academic
and administrative details follow as a matter of logical consequence.
four thrust areas chosen to be the major faculties of the
university have received little attention in other Indian
universities. The Ramakrishna Mission has been working for
decades in these areas and therefore has the necessary expertise,
both theoretical and practical, and branch centres with experience
in these fields could easily become ‘specialized faculty centres’
with sufficient augmentation of infrastructure, faculty, etc.
to enable them to rise to the university level. The four contemplated
thrust areas are:
- Disability Management and Special Education
- Integrated Rural Development including Tribal Development
- Indian Cultural and Spiritual Heritage and Value Education
- Disaster Management including Relief and Rehabilitation
each of these thrust areas, there will be a separate specialized
faculty centre (popularly called nodal centre). To start with,
branch centres of the Ramakrishna Mission already specializing
in these areas, as mentioned above, have been chosen to act
as nodal centres. The nodal centres corresponding to the four
thrust areas would be as follows:
- Disability Management and Special Education: International
Human Resource Development Centre for the Disabled at Ramakrishna
Mission Vidyalaya, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, which is already
involved in training Special Education professionals at
the national and international levels.
- Integrated Rural Development and Tribal Development:
Ramakrishna Mission Ashrama, Morabadi, Ranchi, Jharkhand;
Ramakrishna Mission Lokasiksha Parishad, Narendrapur, West
Bengal; Ramakrishna Mission Samaj Sevak Sikshanamandira,
Belur, Howrah, West Bengal.
- Indian Spiritual and Cultural Heritage and Value Education:
Ramakrishna Institute of Moral and Spiritual Education,
- Disaster Management including Relief and Rehabilitation:
A suitable Ramakrishna Mission centre.
following branch centres, which have fairly adequate facilities,
could also be thought of as additional specialized faculty
centres to be included later on:
- Disability Management: Ramakrishna Mission Blind
Boys’ Academy, Narendrapur, West Bengal.
- Tribal Development: Ramakrishna Mission Ashrama
(Abujhmarh Tribal Service), Narainpur, Bastar, Chhattisgarh;
Ramakrishna Mission Ashramas at Cherrapunji and Shillong
in Meghalaya; Ramakrishna Mission centres at Along, Itanagar
and Narottam Nagar in Arunachal Pradesh.
- Indian Spiritual and Cultural Heritage and Value-based
Education: Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture,
Gol Park, Kolkata, West Bengal; Vivekananda Institute of
Human Excellence, Ramakrishna Math, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh;
Ramakrishna Mission, New Delhi.
Vivekananda Research Centre for fundamental science and philosophy
will be housed in Swami Vivekananda’s Ancestral House in Kolkata
to conduct research on various aspects of Indian culture and
philosophy, Ramakrishna-Vivekananda thought, Vedanta vis-a-vis
modern science, consciousness studies and some areas of fundamental
science. Among the fundamental sciences contemplated are theoretical
physics, pure mathematics and theoretical computer science,
to start with.
central purpose of the research conducted in this centre will
be to study, explicate and interpret the lives and teachings
of Sri Ramakrishna, Sri Sarada Devi and Swami Vivekananda
in the context of the philosophies, social institutions and
religious traditions of India and the rest of the world, so
that people all over the world regardless of the distinctions
of caste, creed, or race may derive benefit from these lives
and teachings and help to build an enlightened, prosperous
and peaceful global society.
addition to the above, research in fundamental science will
also receive some emphasis in this research centre, for Swami
Vivekananda was the pioneer in initiating research in fundamental
science in India. It was he who suggested to Sir Jamshedji
Tata to start a research institute in India for fundamental
science in order to inculcate a scientific temper and objective
research orientation in the Indian psyche.
fact, any branch centre of the Ramakrishna Mission or any
other institution with adequate infrastructure and other facilities
working with the Ramakrishna-Vivekananda ideology could be
gradually added to start newer faculties and be designated
as a specialized centre for that faculty. As new specialized
faculty centres come up, the size of the university will keep
expanding, but the principle will remain the same: all the
specialized faculty centres, along with the administrative
office at Belur Math, will together constitute the Vivekananda
each discipline, necessary appointments of professors, readers
and lecturers, in addition to administrative staff, will be
made on contract/part-time basis according to UGC norms. Since
each of the above centres is an active institution functioning
over years with already well-developed infrastructure and
trained faculty and staff, it should be possible to raise
them to the university level with suitable augmentation and
reinforcement of infrastructure, as may be necessary to maintain
UGC standards. Courses started de novo might require some
structural changes, which are not difficult to make. Thus,
in each of the disciplines (or thrust areas identified above),
the university will have the required number of core faculty
members, who could be supplemented by some specialist visiting
faculty to teach certain specialized topics.
Aspects: Courses, Teaching and Evaluation
university will have the semester academic system with provision
for summer courses.
university will concentrate on two types of courses: long-term
courses leading to diploma, postgraduate diploma, graduation,
postgraduation and research, and short-term programmes ranging
from three-day orientation/refresher courses to certificate
courses of six months’ duration. While the long-term courses
aim at preparing specialists in the thrust areas, the short-term
programmes will aim at orienting and building the capacity
of existing teachers, community members and other persons
holding responsible positions in society, by exposing them
to ideas they have not learnt in their school, college or
university curricula. Measures will also be devised to expose
them to contemporary ideas in emerging disciplines, so that
they can make significant contributions in these areas, given
their already well-developed expertise in their respective
fields of specialization.
short-term in-service programmes and certificate courses do
not normally come under the purview of universities as such,
the Vivekananda (Deemed) University proposes to bring these
programmes too under the university system by offering credits
which can be accumulated over a period of time by the learner.
These credits will be transferable to long-term programmes
Centres or Off-campus Centres
specialized faculty centres will identify suitable institutions
in India and abroad to function as study centres, offering
courses under the Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda (Deemed)
University. These will be off-campus centres offering courses
as a part of distance education with the permission of the
Distance Education Council. This mode will be taken up in
a couple of years’ time. Meanwhile, suitable study materials
and necessary infrastructure will be developed. Normally,
these study centres will be located at centres affiliated
to the Ramakrishna Mission or at institutions working with
the same ideology as the Mission and under its general guidance
and advice. Thus the university can reach a large section
of society, young and old, through its off-campus mode of
education. In fact, the university will concentrate on this
mode so that a large number of people in India and abroad
would be benefited.
the four thrust areas stated above, the university will begin
with Disability Management and Special Education through its
nodal centre in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, as advised by the
UGC and notified by the Ministry of Human Resource Development,
Government of India. Further, Disaster Management including
Relief and Rehabilitation is an emerging discipline, and although
the Mission has been doing extensive post-disaster management
in the form of relief and rehabilitation for over a century,
it has to do some serious planning before starting courses,
both theoretical and practical, on pre-disaster management,
it being a new field that has been emerging in recent times.
each of the faculty centres specializes in one area, they
may also serve as off-campus centres for courses offered by
other faculties. For example, the Coimbatore centre, which
will serve as the main specialized faculty centre for Disability
Management and Special Education, may also become one of the
off-campus centres for courses dealing with Value Education,
Integrated Rural Development, and so on. These off-campus
centres may start functioning once the concept of distance
education is implemented, which could be during the second
or third year of establishment of the university.
of Credit Accumulation
deemed university will offer its courses through a system
of credit accumulation, thereby enabling students to learn
at their own pace. The courses in all four thrust areas will
be categorized as core courses, practical-oriented courses
and stand-alone independent courses. The award of credits
for theory and practical hours will be decided by the academic
council and the boards of studies to be constituted by the
boards of studies will be constituted for the various disciplines.
These boards will look into the overall curriculum for each
course, question paper patterns, practical activities, etc.
However, the following general guidelines will be followed
in evaluating the courses of the university:
- Programmes offered through distance mode will have specific
credits for contact programmes, project activities, and
practical and independent study.
- Attendance, as per requisite norms, at the contact classes
will be made compulsory for each of the courses.
- Internal and external systems of evaluation will be in
place and the boards of studies will recommend the ratio
of internal : external weightage.
- Examinations will be conducted twice a year and the in-built
flexibility of the credit accumulation system will give
the students the freedom to complete the course over a certain
span of time.
- The respective boards of studies and expert committees
will be responsible for deciding on these aspects.
(Deemed) University: a Movement More than an Academy
man-making, character-building education being Swami Vivekananda’s
watchword, the deemed university will persuade every one of
its students to acquire a certain number of credits in value
education, irrespective of the course he or she might be studying.
For the first and foremost requirement of any country is educated
men and women of impeccable integrity- wholesome human beings
with head, hand and heart harmoniously developed, rather than
merely knowledgeable and skilful engineers, doctors or computer
scientists lacking in feeling and dedication.
Vivekananda envisioned a glorious future India arising out
the hard work and sacrifice of millions of her children -
men and women who are sincere and honest to the backbone,
with ‘brains to conceive, hearts to feel and hands to work’.
Endowed with brilliant and luminous intellects, loving and
overflowing hearts, energetic and efficient hands, the children
of Mother India educated in a new ethos of self-sacrifice
rather than self-aggrandizement will revivify and resuscitate
our country to her past glory. This was one of Swami Vivekananda’s
favourite visions. To this end, the proposed university bearing
his hallowed name would inspire young men and women to work
for the actualization of this vision.
the deemed university, being under the aegis of the Ramakrishna
Mission, a worldwide movement silently serving people in various
spheres for over a century, should also be contemplated as
a movement rather than a mere academic institution. It is
our fervent hope that the students trained in it will not
be mere academicians and scholars, but participants in the
enormous task of nation building - rebuilding India by building
individual character cast in the mould of harmony and synthesis
of knowledge, love and work.