Published: 05th December 2018
EFLU at 60: Why this University in Hyderabad is drawing international attention
We talk to VC Prof E Suresh Kumar to find out what they are doing to celebrate this grand occasion
When in class X, Prof E Suresh Kumar dressed up as a teacher of English and Headmaster in a Government Telugu-medium school on the occasion of Self-Governance Day. Cut to today and he is the Vice-Chancellor of The English and Foreign Languages University in Hyderabad, Telangana. Truly living the dream, we say! EFLU recently celebrated the inaugural of the Diamond Jubilee and welcomed Chief Secretary, Government of Telangana, Shailendra Kumar Joshi as their chief guest and Suresh Chukkapalli, Honorary Consul-General, Consulate of Korea, Hyderabad as their guest of honour. And what a time to be VC! Just when your university has crossed the milestone of 60 years of not merely existing, but thriving. When we sit down for a chat with the VC, he agrees with us whole-heartedly, but through the length of our conversation, we realise that his goal is long-term. Through this event, Prof Kumar didn’t want to just create impact, but also wants to organise a celebration that will be remembered for years to come. He also talks about simple gestures that melt the heart and how an institute remains relevant now and for times to come. Excerpts:
Meet A Leading Light (MALL) is one of the initiatives taken on the occasion of the Diamond Jubilee year that we are excited about...
Yes. MALL is an initiative through which students can interact with famous personalities in a truly informal setting. I’ve already invited successful businessmen, entrepreneurs, film actors, sportspersons, but my ultimate aim is to take my students to the President of India. When all the VCs of central universities were called to the Rashtrapati Bhavan on May 2 of this year, I had mentioned MALL in a meeting. The President’s special officer caught up with me later to ask for more details about it. It is during these interactions when the guest talks about their humble beginnings that students feel encouraged and think to themselves, ‘Maybe I can become like them too’.
They also have an enabling unit for physically challenged students and would like to conduct a national-level programme for them
What is the most satisfying moment during the celebrations?
For the inaugural ceremony of our Diamond Jubilee on November 16, we invited our alumni, retired teaching and non-teaching staff. They even met me and expressed their happiness by stating, 'Here is someone who still thinks of us'.
Our pose: Students performing during EFLU's Diamond Jubilee celebrations | (Pic: EFLU)
That is a very sweet gesture...
Yes. One of our goals with these celebrations was personal fulfilment of all those who are working and studying here, that they were here during these celebrations. Also, by conducting various activities and inviting students from other universities, people will get to know what EFLU is all about. When the university celebrates its centenary after 40 years, they should remember our diamond jubilee celebrations.
They are also going to launch free mobile apps like English Pronunciation and Spoken English
What would you say the USP of EFLU is?
We call all our students participants. From day one, we keep telling students that they need to participate in class which makes them perform on a daily basis. So when they pass out of this university, they can settle anywhere. Knowledge is not static here, it is dynamic. Recently, about six months back, I started a music club here and within a short span of time, they were able to perform at the celebrations. Music helps those who are disturbed and prompts a certain sequencing in the mind which is useful for academics too.
As a part of the University-Industry Hub, I want to start another programme called Earn While You Learn wherein, a student can take a break for one semester, that is four months, and work with industries then come back to continue studies. This is also very helpful for students.
All smiles: Dignitaries at EFLU's Diamond Jubilee celebrations | (Pic: EFLU)
EFLU goes back 60 years. How does an institute stay relevant throughout the years?
Though in 1958 it was started as the Central Institute of English, only to train teachers to teach English in 2007, it was upgraded to a Central University. In the entire country, we are the only university that focuses on Humanities alone. Our focus is English and foreign languages. We have around 800 seats in UG, PG and PhD programmes that 15,000 applicants apply for. This is because we have adopted a cafeteria approach. For instance, a PG student chooses 16 courses out of 294 courses across four semesters. This choice-based credit system is available elsewhere too, but seldom would you find as many choices. We also trained 345 participants from 85 countries in English.
Other initiatives on this occasion
- Lecture by a Nobel Laureate
- Cultural programmes for both Indian and foreign students
- International and national conferences
- Inter-university competitions
- Short film competitions
- Literary festival
- Adopt a village under University Social Responsibility programme and teach children studying in schools and colleges English and one foreign language
For more on them, click on efluniversity.ac.in