Berhampur University was established on 2nd January 1967 after prolonged and persistent endeavour of the enlightened citizens and students of Southern Orissa with a mission to provide the benefits of higher education to the people of the region, to foster economic growth and to study, preserve and enrich the cultural tradition of the region. The districts currently under the jurisdiction of the University, namely, Ganjam, Gajapati, Kandhamal, Koraput, Rayagada, Nowrangpur and Malkangiri constitute the most socio-economically disadvantaged region of the state, with a substantial number of its people belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
At present, there are 20 teaching post-graduate Departments which impart courses at the Post-Graduate and M.Phil, levels. Besides, the COATS at Koraput and Women's Studies Research Centre, Berhampur University run M.Phil, programmes. The P.G. Departments also conduct Ph.D. programmes. We have also courses, such as, one year Diploma Course in Tourism and Indian Monuments and Diploma Course in Russian Language run by the Department of History and the Department of Linguistics respectively. The University also runs courses, such as, M.Tech. in Computer Science, M.Tech. in EIS, M.Pharm., Master of Finance and Control (MFC), M.Sc. in Biotechnology, M.Sc. in Geophysics and one-year Diploma in Banking and Insurance Management in collaboration with ICICI Bank on self-financing basis.
Our University is an affiliating one. It had started with only 11 colleges under its jurisdiction in the year 1967. The number of affiliated colleges has increased to 128 by the close of 2009, out of which, 97 colleges have been extended the privilege of permanent affiliation. These colleges have been imparting higher education in the disciplines of Arts, Science, Commerce, Business Administration, Education, Medicine, Law, Ayurveda Homeopathy, Military Sciences, Biotechnology, Bioinformatics, Nursing, Computer Science and Information Technology.
There are at present 6 autonomous colleges, namely, Khallikote (Autonomous) College, Berhampur, SKCG (Autonomous) College, Parlakhemundi, Vikram Deb (Autonomous) College, Jeypore, Government (Autonomous) College, Phulbani, Sashi Bhusan Rath Government Women's (Autonomous) College, Berhampur and Rayagada (Autonomous) College, Rayagada. A proposal has been sent to the UGC for consideration of conferring autonomous status to Science College, Hinjilicut. These autonomous colleges enjoy their autonomy in framing curricula, conducting examinations and publication of results. The University keeps a constant vigil on the academic programmes offered by these autonomous colleges.
The University has a number of Centres, which provide facilities of teaching, research and undertake extension work, namely, Women's Studies Research Centre, Biju Patnaik Computer Centre, Centre for Regional Studies, Centre for Canadian Studies and Harihar Mardaraj Distance Education Centre. Besides, we have the OASTC, sponsored by the Ministry of Earth Sciences, Government of India to undertake research on marine ecology and related subjects. The University has a coaching centre for the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe students with financial assistance from the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India under the Scheme "affirmative action for inclusion of SCs/STs, etc.
The University has started a Distance Education Centre in 1987. It is named after Harihar Mardaraj, a great patron of education in this part of the state. This Centre offers 19 post-graduate degree and diploma courses in Humanities, Science, Commerce, Management and Law, besides undergraduate courses in Humanities and Commerce, both at Pass and Honours levels. The response to these courses under the distance mode has been encouraging. New and innovative courses are being added every year, to make education relevant to the needs of the time, while continuing its traditional role of fostering knowledge. These courses through distance mode aim at reaching the students at their door step and make learning accessible to the educationally underprivileged, socially disadvantaged and economically backward sections of the southern region of the state of Orissa.
One of the main objectives of the University is to encourage and foster quality research. For this purpose, facilities have been provided in the post-graduate departments of the University. There are also some autonomous and affiliated colleges under the jurisdiction of the University which provide facilities for research. The Ph.D. regulations of the University have been made in accordance with the UGC guidelines in order to promote and ensure quality research. The funding agencies like the UGC, CSIR, Department of Science and Technology, Ministry of Earth Sciences have been promoting and encouraging research by way of providing financial assistance to the teachers and scholars. The ICHR, New Delhi has provided study grant to two research scholars. In the research projects currently in progress, there are two Research Associates, two Senior Research Fellows, ten Junior Research Fellows, five Technical Assistants and four Field Assistants. The University has re-introduced the system of University Research Fellowships (JRF) to encourage young researchers and their fellowship is being met from the own resources of the University. A total of 10 Junior Research Fellows have been undertaking research by availing the Fellowship under this scheme, which commenced from June 2009.
It is a matter of great satisfaction that our teachers have brought laurels to the University through their publications in national and international journals of repute. The University is publishing its own Social Science journal Pragynanubhuti and a literary biannual journal Sahityapatra. Besides, many departments of the University are publishing their research journals. The Department of Journalism and Mass Communication is bringing out "The Bhanja Bihar Reporter" and "Bhanja Bihar Samachar", laboratory journals, which have been very useful to the students of the Department to gain practical knowledge.
The Department of Physics conducted a National Seminar on Recent Advances in Physics during February 6-7, 2008. The Centre for Canadian Studies organised a two-day National Seminar on "Multiculturism and Human Rights in Canada and India" during 17-18 March, 2009 in collaboration with Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute, New Delhi. The Department of Marine Sciences celebrated the World Meteorological Day on 23 March 2009. The Department also, in collaboration with OASTC, Berhampur University observed the "Earth Day" on 22nd April 2009. The Department of Law organised a National Seminar on "Corporate Governance and Regulatory Measures" in collaboration with Ph.D. (Law) Alumni Association on 27th April 2009. The Women's Studies Research Centre celebrated World Environment Day in collaboration with one NGO at Gopalpur on 5 June 2009. The Government of Orissa in Higher Education Department has constituted a Task Force under the Chairmanship of Prof. Trilochan Pradhan with the objective of preparing a Perspective Plan for Higher Education. As a part of this exercise, our University has organised a Regional Workshop on "Perspective Plan for Higher Education in Orissa" on October 24, 2009 and we have also prepared and presented a Vision Document to the Chairman of the Task Force. To commemorate the Birth Anniversary of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, the National Education Day was celebrated on 11th November 2009 in our University and a Seminar was organised on the topic "Higher Education in India: Today and Tomorrow".
It is worth mentioning here that many teachers of the University have gone abroad on academic pursuits during 2009. Prof. P.K. Padhy, Department of Business Administration participated in an International Conference at Singapore. Prof. (Smt.) Aparajita Chowdhury, Department of Home Science has visited the University of Maastricht, The Netherlands as ICSSR-NOW Fellow under the Social Science Scholars Exchange Programme for a period of three months. She has also attended European Union Conference held at Brussels (Belgium) on 8th October 2009, International Conference at Hague, The Netherlands on 12th November 2009 and the World Congress on Humanity at China in 2009. Dr. (Smt.) Smita Sinha of Department of Linguistics has attended an International Conference at East-West University, Dhaka (Bangladesh) during 11-12 December 2009. Dr. Manas Ranjan Patra attended an International Conference held at Bangkok during December 1-5, 2009. Prof. G.S. Tripathy visited Germany from August 1 to September 30, 2009 for collaborative research work. Prof. Trinath Sahu, Department of Electronic Science was awarded Commonwealth Academic Staff Fellowship tenable at the University of Wales (UK). Besides, some teachers of the University have attended national/international conferences and seminars held in India. They presented papers and participated in the deliberations.
The College Development Council has been coordinating between the Colleges and the UGC and monitors the implementation of the UGC-funded schemes and projects in different colleges. There are 49 colleges enlisted under 2(f) and 12-B of the UGC Act, 1956. These colleges are receiving funds under different UGC schemes. The UGC has sanctioned/released a sum of Rs. 1,62,73,058/- (Rupees one crore, sixty two lakh, seventy-three thousand fifty eight only) to different colleges towards purchase of books & journals, equipment and for construction of buildings during XI Plan period. Some teachers of different colleges have also received financial assistance from the UGC to undertake minor research projects and one teacher has been sanctioned financial assistance to undertake a major research project.
The UGC has sanctioned financial assistance under the Special Assistance Programme, Phase-II at DRS level up to 31st March 2009 to the Department of History. The Department has also received financial assistance from the UGC under the ASHISS programme.
The sports and games activities are monitored by the Sports Council. It organised the Inter-College Tournaments/ Meets/Competitions to select University teams for participation in the inter-University tournaments during the year under report.
The NSS Bureau has enrolled 10,750 volunteers under 215 units with programme officers covering 100 colleges. Under the auspices of the NSS Bureau, many inter-college camps have been organised with special focus on the "Gyanalok" programme. The NSS Units of different colleges have organised camps and took-up activities, such as, plantation, sanitation, awareness on HIV/AIDS, cleanliness, blood donation, etc. A National Integration Camp was organised by the NSS Bureau at A.M.C.S. College, Tikabali during 24-28 February 2009. The NSS Volunteers represented the University at the National Integration Camp held at Sidhanur in Raichur district of Karnataka held during 25-31 January 2009. Five NSS volunteers from our University participated in an adventure programme held under the auspices of Mountaineering Institute, Manali (Himachal Pradesh) during February 2009. The NSS volunteers also attended a Mega Summer Camp organised by Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Youth Development, Sriperumbudur (Tamil Nadu) held from 22nd June to 3rd July 2009.
On the basis of the recommendation of the UGC Expert Committee, which visited our University to review the progress of X Plan allocation and to assess the requirements of the XI Plan, the UGC has sanctioned a sum of Rs. 9.75 crore for the XI Plan period towards General Development Assistance, such as, building, equipment, books & journals, maintenance and repairs and to meet the salary of the staff sanctioned for the existing departments and for the newly sanctioned departments like Marine Microbiology, Geophysics, M.Pharm., Education and Hindi. The UGC has released an amount of Rs.4.875 crore in this regard. The UGC has also allocated Rs. 512.50 lakh under the head "Merged Scheme" and an amount of Rs. 5.00 lakh has been sanctioned for Internal Quality Assurance Cell. We are immensely grateful to the UGC for their liberal grants during the XI Plan period.
The R.P. Padhi Central Library is well equipped with 1,14,169 books, 125 current journals, etc. With limited and inadequate staff, we have tried our best to provide proper library services to the students, teachers, scholars and members of the Library. Efforts have been made to fully computerise the Library to make it user-friendly. E-Library has been introduced in the library during this year. Apart from print copies of the journals the library users are getting benefit of 1076 online journals under the UGC-INFONET digital library consortium. An amount of Rs. 1.0 crore has been sanctioned under the UGC development grant for purchase of new books and journals during the financial year 2009-10.