Nurturing Women Leaders for Generations Through Innovative Comprehensive Gender Specific Education – the Banasthali Way

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Nurturing Women Leaders for Generations Through Innovative Comprehensive Gender Specific Education – the Banasthali Way

A QS Showcase message from Professor Aditya Shastri, vice chancellor of Banasthali University

“Education is as old as the human existence, but the participation of women in formal education is fairly recent. Education systems have not been looked into from women’s perspective. Gender specific educational ideology keeping in mind the inherent strengths, capabilities and psychological make-up of women is the best way to nurture women leaders.”

Professor Aditya Shastri
Vice Chancellor

Prof Aditya Shastri, vice chancellor of Banasthali University 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 both as 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 state wide rank in school leaving examination. He obtained 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 PhD 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.

He has held several visiting appointments in UK, France and Japan, the most notable being his stay at Universite Du Maine, France, in 1994–95 as a recipient of the prestigious Marie-Curie Fellowship by DST awarded to only one scientist every year. He was Royal Society Exchange Visitor to the University of Nottingham in 1993 and a research staff member at IBM-India Research Lab from 1999–2000. An avid researcher especially in discrete mathematics, graph theory and theory of computation, he has published over 50 research papers, authored five text-books and steered a number of research projects generating millions of dollars for Banasthali University.

The “Banasthali story” has no parallel across the globe. It originated when a father lost his promising daughter before its hour, and decided to train other girls the same way. Thus, Banasthali embarked upon its journey with only five studentsway back in 1935 when the concept of education for the girl child virtually didn’t exist.

That small experiment, over the last eight decades, has blossomed into world’s largest fully residential women’s university with 15,000 students on its 1,000-acre campus having a distinct five-fold educational ideology comprising of physical, practical, aesthetic, intellectual and, above all, moral aspects to develop an integrated and balanced personality of the students besides the requisite professional training. It offers a variety of programmes from nursery to doctoral level across a wide spectrum of disciplines to nurture enlightened citizens with strong value-base.

Prof Shastri has spearheaded vast expansion of Banasthali resulting in 10-fold increase in enrolment, 20-fold jump in annual budget with massive improvement in the infrastructure through public and private support mobilised by him. The only women university among the top 100 Indian universities, Banasthali has been reaccredited with the highest possible A grade by NAAC, Government of India. It is also ranked #17 by AC Nielsen and #29 under NIRF of Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India.

Prof Shastri has been felicitated with Anita Parikh Award 2011–12 for Women’s Empowerment, QIMPRO Gold Award in Education (2011), Global Education Leadership Award (2015) by World Education Congress and most recently, the prestigious J.C. Bose Memorial Award (2016) by Mr Narendra Modi, prime minister of India. He has also been named amongst the 100 most influential global vice chancellors.