The Largest Embodiment of Women Education in India
While most of the Indian universities are adopting western methodologies of education and continuously failing to improve the quality of graduates they produce each year, Banasthali Vidyapith, located in Banasthali, Rajasthan, has been following traditional Indian education and has created many successful women leaders for the nation. Doing pioneering work in women's education for more than eight decades, Banasthali Vidyapith, the world's largest residential university for women, has carved a niche for itself through its unique educational ideology of Panchmukhi Shiksha or five-fold education. "Our educational ideology is based on the concept of five-fold education comprising physical, practical, aesthetic, intellectual and, above all, moral aspects to develop an integrated and balanced personality of the students besides the requisite professional training," says Prof. Aditya Shastri, Vice-Chancellor, Banasthali Vidyapith.
Banasthali is different not merely by virtue of its logo 'University with a difference,' but also in its very inception and foundation. Simplicity and selfless service have remained institutional hallmarks, in tune with the ideology of our founders; Pandit Hiralal Shastri 'Apaji' who gave up his top administrative position and Smt. Ratan Shastri 'Bhabhuji' followed suit by giving up a life of affluence to come and work in this backward area. Prof. Shastri opines, "Such lifestyle helps the students to develop an egalitarian and self-reliant approach towards others, besides it also entails equilibrium in an age of cut-throat competition as ours. It also goes well with our fundamental ideology of the synthesis of spiritualism and scientific outlook of the East and the West."
The structure and functioning of Banasthali Vidyapith is such that the campus with all its residents, including students and staff, unite as a family. The values of harmony, empathy, bonhomie are omnipresent, therefore, each personnel and each student performs optimally. Quality thus becomes an inbuilt feature of the entire working system of the institution. "Efficiency and effectiveness in the teaching-learning process as well as in maintaining the campus amenities are an integral responsibility of each of the inmate which is discharged with ease requiring no formal supervision. This is one of the many fruits we reap out of our value based education system," adds Prof. Shastri.
A Campus with a Difference
With 29 academic blocks and 47 hostels, the 950-acre campus of Banasthali Vidyapith is a remarkable sight. The University’s attractive rural location, with the fully residential setting, provides the best of the academic environment and is conducive for the all round personality development of the students. "New hi-tech labs keep coming up as per the need of the hour. The latest addition is the industry 4.0 labs in the Bajaj School of Automation, which provides an extra edge to our students and which still do not exist in any of the Indian universities," claims Prof. Shastri.
Interestingly, Banasthali is the only university in India with its own flying club. It has licensed airstrip, fleet of aircrafts and a well recognized and approved Aviation school. The Vidyapith has its own Community Radio @ 90.4 FM, 100-bed hospital, horse-riding facility and excellent sports facilities. Sporting infrastructure includes cricket, football, hockey grounds, athletics field, volleyball, tennis, badminton, basketball courts, table tennis, horse riding arena, shooting area, swimming pool, martial arts, gymnastics training facilities and the list goes on. These facilities are available at most affordable cost to women hailing from all parts of India and from overseas.
Making the Students Industry-Ready
At Banasthali, summer training and six months to one-year long industry internship/project are an integral part of all professional courses. In addition, students get hands-on training for being industry ready through the establishments like IBM Centre for Excellence. Prof. Shastri explains, "Experiential learning, skill training workshops, field and industry visits are also crucial in developing our industry ready students. Through the Panchmukhi Shiksha philosophy, students are offered choices to take up additional skill/ art based certificate-diploma courses, which empower them with added capabilities and personality traits that further hone their ability to get to work on day one."
Students of the last batch have been placed in reputed academic institutions, NGOs, companies in the sectors of IT, banking, automobile, infrastructure, FMCG, capital goods, commodity training, hospitality, health, consultancy, knowledge process outsourcing and many more. Some of the key organizations that recruited the Banasthali students through on-campus and off-campus placements include Wipro, TCS, Accenture, Mahindra & Mahindra, Oracle, Azim Premji Foundation, ICICI Bank, IDBI Bank, Reliance Capital, Nestle, VLCC, Britannia, to name a few. Average packages are Rs. 5.5 LPA, which is higher than many reputed universities across the country. Prof. Shastri proudly says, "Oracle was the company that offered the highest package to the last passing out batch. Highest package offered (on-campus placement) to the current batch till date (to pass out in 2018) is Rs. 19 LPA by TiVo."
Today, the 2.5 lakh+ strong alumni base of Banasthali Vidyapith spread across the globe is its strength. Late ‘Padmashri’ Binny Yanga, Meera Kumar (Former Speaker, Lok Sabha), Kamla Beniwal (Ex Governor, Gujarat), Anuradha Singh (Film editor, Hollywood, USA), Sunita Godara (Asian Marathon Champion), Yamini Sinha (Head, HR, Harley Davidson India) and Pooja Dev Sharma (Food designer) represent few of the star alumni members of Banasthali Vidyapith. Within India and abroad, Banasthali’s name and fame are not confined to geographical boundaries. Now, Banasthali Vidyapith aspires to make a mark in the world university rankings and enhance its international exchange and global visibility. "Over the generations, Banasthali Vidyapith has nurtured women leaders in all walks of life and training our students through the unique ideology of fivefold education, we are committed to grooming a new generation of “the first woman to...” scale unreached heights. 'Brand Banasthali' should become a new model of higher education,” concludes Prof. Shastri.
Prof. Aditya Shastri, Vice-Chancellor
Prof. Aditya Shastri is a man of immense vision and acuity. He is the key force behind Banasthali’s evolution into the largest university for women with high international repute. Serving as both Chief Executive Officer and Chief Academic Officer of the University, Prof. Shastri personifies the modern outlook of an educator and inspirational leadership qualities of an administrator. Showing great prowess in academics from a very early age, Prof. Shastri secured statewide rank in school leaving examination. He obtained a dual degree in M.Sc. (Tech.) Computer Science and M.Sc. (Hons.) Mathematics from BITS, Pilani, Master's degree in Mathematics from SUNY, Stony Brook and Ph.D. in Mathematics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA. After a brief stint at Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) for one year, he moved to Banasthali where he has remained ever since.