QMC, Presidency colleges to become varsities

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Chennai, Oct 12 (UNI) Two grand old institutions of higher education in Tamil Nadu -- the more than-century-old Queen Mary's College (QMC) and Presidency College -- would be elevated as Universities.

These two colleges would be the first among many colleges in the State to get the elevation, Tamil Nadu Higher Education Minister K Ponmudi said.

Speaking at the foundation stone laying function for Dr Kalaignar Block at QMC here last evening, he said both the colleges would receive substantial grants from the State Government for augmenting its infrastructure and setting up additional facilities. ''The QMC alone will need 87 new classrooms, which would be constructed at a cost of Rs 2.5 crore. An additional Rs 50 lakh would be allotted for the repair of old buildings in the campus, Local Administration Minister M K Stalin, who laid the foundation, said.

The elevation was in continuance of grant of autonomy to both the institutions. For QMC, the promise of better infrastructure came as a welcome relief as the institution was housed in dilapidated buildings.

The new classrooms would come up at the site where the Capper House once stood.

It was the heritage status of this building, built in 1800 to house the first women's college of the then Madras Presidency, that saved it following widespread condemnation after the then AIADMK Government decided to demolish it to make way for a new Secretariat complex in 2003.

Mr Ponmudy said that according to estimates, India would require around 1,500 universities to meet the challenges of improving the quality of higher education. Keeping this in mind, more colleges would be elevated into universities soon, he added.

The Dr Kalaignar Block, to be set up at QMC, would be in sync with the heritage architecture of other buildings in the campus. The two-storeyed block would be completed in a year and would house a library, administrative offices, a conference hall and classrooms.

UNI

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