Chairperson of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), Mukesh Ambani, recently announced his plans to develop a world-class education hub in Navi Mumbai. With academic collaborations with some of the world’s leading universities, this hub intends to encourage innovation in learning by providing students with infrastructure to conduct research. The collaboration includes top names such as Oxford, Harvard and Cambridge.
The hub will be developed in Ulwe, on a 400-acre plot owned by Anand Jain and Mukesh Ambani. Originally acquired to develop a Special Economic Zone (SEZ), revisions in the state’s industrial policies enabled the land to be unlocked for other purposes. The land remained undeveloped because it was under the flying zone of the proposed Navi Mumbai International Airport; disallowing building of skyscrapers as per aviation norms. So, RIL decided to build an international education hub here instead.
While the exact location of the education facility has been announced only recently, RIL’s intentions to set up a world-class, multi-disciplinary university in Maharashtra were declared at the company’s Annual General Meeting in 2011.
Intelligently nicknamed “Special, Education Zone”, this campus plans to involve state-of-the-art infrastructure that facilitates well-rounded education from kindergarten to doctorate programs. Stemming from the belief that existing universities are not able to meet the industry demand for well-trained engineering personnel, this education hub intends to fill the prevalent talent gap. It will also offer courses in science, arts and a variety of professional vocations. As per the initial plans, this education hub will act as an autonomous university. It intends to blend western and eastern education systems and cultureto nurture talent holistically.
However, it has been made clear by a senior spokesperson at RIL that the plans for this hub are still at a rather nascent stage. To start with, the nitty-gritty of the revised government policies are yet to be understood and the modalities of the project still need some fine-tuning.
Other Academic Initiatives
Nita Ambani, wife of Mukesh Ambani, will also be actively monitoring the progress of this project. Known for her philanthropic inclinations in the fields of education, human resources and disaster relief; her involvement in the project comes with her drive to place this hub on the global map.
This will be Mukesh Ambani’s second academic project since 2011, when he signed a pact with the Gujarat Government to transform the Gandhinagar-based PanditDeendayal Petroleum University into a leading world-class academic institution.
RIL has been involved in a number of educational projects as part of its social responsibility and community development initiatives,. It has developed 9 schools that jointly cater to 13251 students across the country. RIL is also known to play a crucial role in supporting the Government’s initiative in educating the girl child. A number of primary and secondary schools in rural India have been transformed into platforms that encourage computer literacy. Other academic initiatives have been continuously executed by providing financial support to NGOs and charitable trusts.