University of Pune. (August 2006 – June 2009)
Dr. Narendra Jadhav served as the Vice Chancellor of the University of Pune, which is a premier institution of higher education in India and the largest traditional University in the world with 6,50,000 students, 536 affiliated Graduate Colleges and 330 Recognized Institutes.
After taking over as the Vice Chancellor, in August 2006, Dr. Jadhav placed two principal objectives before himself: one, to place the University of Pune on the global map as a Center of Excellence, and second, to bring the University out of its splendid isolation and make it directly responsive to the ever changing societal needs. Accordingly, Dr. Jadhav took several far reaching initiatives aimed at improving the access (e.g. through “Education Guarantee Scheme” for the underprivileged youth) and quality of higher education, (e.g. through a complete revision of all 484 curricula with involvement of relevant industry), and promoting the research environment, (e.g. through innovative financial incentives).
Dr. Jadhav followed a dynamic marketing strategy so as to place the University of Pune on the Global Map. There are more than 14,000 foreign students from 102 countries studying at the University of Pune. A Campus of the University of Pune has been set up in United Arab Emirates (UAE) in 2009. As Vice-Chancellor Dr. Jadhav visited Austria, China, France, Germany, Japan, South Korea, South Africa, Sweden, UAE and USA during his tenure of 33 months. Several collaborative arrangements with the globally reputed educational institutions have been established and effort was made to widen their geographical spread and functional scope. Not surprisingly, University of Pune emerged as the most favoured destination for foreign students coming to India. More than 40 per cent of the foreign students coming to India enroll in the University of Pune alone!
As a flagship program of the University, an ambitious “movement” styled, ‘Samarth Bharat Abhiyan’- a comprehensive rural development program, was launched for directing the youth power towards constructive social engagement in the rural areas. Under the Abhiyan, all colleges adopted one village each in their vicinity for all-round socio-economic development. In all, around 500 villages were adopted. A 15 Point Program was drawn which covered, inter alia primary education, tree plantation, water management, sanitation facilities, communal harmony and the like. This movement involved more than half a million students and teachers, and senior citizen volunteers working throughout the year in the chosen village with the locals and the government machinery, NGOs active in the relevant field, and endeavouring to bring about a complete transformation. The results were most encouraging (e.g. more than 7,00,000 saplings planted and 190 villages made Nirmal Grams).
A unique and innovative Soft–Skills Program for Personality Development of the students was also initiated by Dr. Jadhav, wherein students from rural areas, socially disadvantaged groups and economically poor strata of the society were chosen for an intensive fifteen-days training program and outside experts were invited to impart training in Conversational English, Techniques of Interview and Group Discussion and Overall Personality Development. Personality Development Centres have been established in 200 colleges.
Another path-breaking decision taken by Dr. Jadhav as the Vice Chancellor was to provide scholarships of Rs. One crore (US$2,00,000) to the girl students at the Under-Graduate and Post-Graduate levels. Under the Scheme, scholarships of Rs. 5000/- each were awarded to 2000 girl students per year. A special feature of this Scheme was that 30 per cent of the total amount was especially reserved for daughters of Devadasis, Prostitutes and women affected with HIV.
Yet another socially relevant unique program initiated was Senior Citizen Centre. The Center catered to the felt needs of the large and growing body of Senior Citizens. The Center engaged Senior Citizens in five different activities: One-day workshops on health and personal financial management; Three months Certificate Programs of their choice (e.g. Indian History, Culture, Philosophy, Religion and the like); a special Ph.D. Program for senior citizens with relaxed entry norms; Teaching public at large under Adult and Continuing Education Program, and Working as volunteers in the Samarth Bharat Abhiyan.
Dr. Jadhav also launched an ambitious Triple Connectivity Program, connecting the Main Campus with all affiliating colleges and an Information Technology enabled Services (ITES) program in collaboration with CISCO and several vocational courses for Entrepreneurial and Technician Development, especially for high school drop-outs. In the wake of the terrorist attack on Mumbai, Dr. Jadhav initiated the process of establishing Centre for Internal Security aimed at creating a Think Tank, training all college students in Disaster Management and creating awareness among the public at large. Most of these innovative schemes were appreciated by the Government and are being adopted by all other State Universities in Maharashtra.