Lone Lankan student bags gold medal in Delhi-based South Asian University

Lone Lankan student bags gold medal in Delhi-based South Asian University

New Delhi, June 10 (newsin.asia): Niroshika Sanjeewani Liyana Muhandiram, the only Sri Lankan national to have graduated from the New Delhi-based South Asian University (SAU) this year, has topped the Master of Laws programme in the university bagging a Gold Medal, a press release from SAU  says..

Niroshika, who works for the Faculty of Law at the Open Univesity of Sri Lanka, received the  Gold Medal for her “outstanding academic performance in Legal Studies” at the third convocation of the SAU  held at the Pravasi Bhartiya Kendra, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi on June 7.

Bangladeshis have been bagging gold medals in computer science at the New Delhi-based South Asian University (SAU). At the Third Convocation, Main Uddin of Bangladesh received a Gold Medal for his “outstanding academic performance’ in the MSc Computer Sciences program. With that, Main Uddin became the second Bangladeshi to have got the top award in computer sciences.

SAU also awarded its first set of PhD Degrees, along with 10 MPhil and 160 Masters Degrees this year.

A total of 176 students were conferred Masters, MPhil and PhD Degrees in various programmes that include Applied Mathematics, Biotechnology, Computer Science, Development Economics, International Relations, Legal Studies and Sociology. 7 programme toppers were honoured with the SAU Gold Medal – one each from Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, and 5 from India.

Out of the total number of graduates, 21 were from Afghanistan, 17 from Bangladesh, 5 from Bhutan, 11 from Nepal, 5 from Pakistan and one from Sri Lanka and France while the rest 99 are from India.

Ten students will get their MPhil Degrees – two from Nepal, one from Bangladesh and 7 from India. For the first time since its inception, South Asian University handed out its PhD Degrees to 6 of its scholars – one each from Afghanistan and Bangladesh and 4 from India, representing various Departments and Faculties.

The convocation was presided over by Giriraj Mani Pokhrel, Minister for Education, Science and Technology, Government of Nepal. Among others who              graced the occasion were Dr.. Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, President, ICCR and Member of Rajya Sabha (Chief Guest) and Amjad Hussain B Sial, the Secretary General of SAARC.

Speaking on the occasion, Pokhrel said: “South Asia has a common enemy called poverty and the young minds of the region should find ways and means to unleash the true potential of collective strength to transform the region through rapid economic growth and defeat this common enemy.”

He further said as the current chair of the SAARC, Nepal would give full support and cooperation to the SAARC process and particularly to SAU,  which he said, was a dream of the visionaries of the region.

Dr Vinay Sahasrabuddhe reiterated the importance of the day i.e. 7 June as it was on this day Mahatama Gandhi resolved to fight injustice when he was thrown off of the first class compartment of a train in South Africa.

Empowered youth of the region should fight for unity and harmony in the region and SAU could be converted into a universal fraternity university, Sahasrabuddhe said.

Dr. Kavita Sharma, President SAU, congratulated the graduates and shared her hope for the region as more and more young minds of the region are equipped with cutting-edge knowledge in the fields of Science and Social Sciences, in an inimitable environment of camaraderie.

“Co-operation among the students in South Asian University drawn from different parts of South Asia is nothing but inspiring,” Dr.Sharma said.

Mandated to inculcate a sense of regional consciousness among the young minds of the South Asia region while imparting cutting-edge knowledge, South Asian University was established by the governments of the eight SAARC nations. The university took off in 2010 with two Masters Degree Programmes. Today, SAU offers seven Masters and an equal number of Doctoral Programmes.

The high table at the SAU convocation; Dr.Sasanka Perera from Sri Lanka, who is Vice President of SAU, is at the extreme left.

SAARC Secretary General, Mr. Amjad Hussain Sial said that with the knowledge and education that the graduates have acquired from the University will play an important role in the development of the South Asian countries and the region.

He also thanked the Government of India for allocating a 100 acre land in New Delhi and its magnanimous contribution for constructing the permanent campus of the university.

The construction of the permanent campus of the South Asian University is going on in Maidan Garhi in New Delhi.

Composition of the Student Population Skewed 

As per SAU rules, 50 percent of the students should come SAARC countries other than India, and the remaining from India, the host country.

“We have been maintaining this ratio but there has been a shortfall of students from Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka,” Dr Sasanka Perera, Vice President of SAU and Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, told BDNews.com.

Himself a former Professor of Sociology from Colombo University in Sri Lanka, Dr Perera said that there has been a lack of initiative from the governments of the countries like Sri Lanka which send fewer students.

“We have been pushing the case for more applicants from these countries have made significant progress vis-à-vis Bhutan. From 5 or 6 applicants from Bhutan, a few years ago, it has now gone up to 120 and the number of Bhutanese admitted has gone up to 25, which is significant,” Dr Perera said.

Students have to sit for an entrance examination.

On Sri Lanka, Prof Perera said, he plans to visit the island soon to talk to university authorities and show them a promotional video he had made for a State broadcaster on the opportunities and prospects offered by SAU.

(The featured image at the top shows Niroshika Sanjeewani Liyana Muhandiram (at the extreme right) after she received the Gold Medal)