15 October, New Delhi: The second Academic Council meeting of South Asian University was held today in the university's campus

in Chanakyapuri, New Delhi. Chaired by Prof. GK Chadha, the president of SAU, the meeting was attended by all members of the council including the three external experts co-opted by the council - Prof. Ainun Nishat, Vice Chancellor of BRAC University, Dhaka, Prof. Adil Najam, Vice-Chancellor of Lahore University of Management Sciences and Prof. N. Jayaram from Tata Institute of Social Sciences. Many a significant decision were taken during the course of the meeting.

'Introduction to South Asia' will now be a compulsory course for every student and they have to pass this non-credit course in order to get their degrees. With the introduction of this course, the students joining from different nations of South Asia will have the benefit of acquiring some basic facets pertaining to the region. Mention may be made here that South Asian University is a brainchild of Prime Minister Manmohon Singh and the university was established by the member countries of SAARC to evolve a South Asian consciousness.

South Asian University is also making all necessary arrangement to start Ph.D. programme from the next academic year. Publication of a journal on South Asia is also in the offing.

The university will also now institute a SAU Gold Medal to the student who passes out of the university with the best academic performance in his/her class, demonstrated by having secured the highest CGPA in the programme. In all, there will be eight such medals, one given out to a student each from the 8 post graduate programmes the university currently offers. Moreover, a SAU Certificate of Merit will also be awarded to the student who secures the best combined SGPAs in the first two semesters of all 2 year master's level programmes.

In view of the long visa process students have to go though, the Academic Council recommended the admission schedule of SAU to start from the first week of January, two months ahead of what it was last time around. The university conducts admission test across all the SAARC countries on a single day. To facilitate easy process, Indian High Commission now provides visa to students coming to the university under a special category called SAU Visa. Understanding the unique nature of the university, the council further recommended a required minimum attendance in class and satisfactory fulfilment of other academic assignments, for students to be eligible to write their examinations.

The council expressed satisfaction on the success of the Scholarship and Financial Support programme, under which virtually whoever applied was awarded scholarship and financial support, especially the students from the least developed countries. The members of the council also appreciated SAU's effort on the widespread representation of students from all the SAARC countries. Almost half of the students in South Asian University come from SAARC countries other than India.

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