Puducherry is a Union Territory with one of the highest levels of quality of life in the country with excellent physical infrastructure and almost a hundred per cent literacy level. It is also the place where Sri Aurobindo and the Mother chose to stay and their writings remain a tremendous source of spiritual awakening that emphasizes the progress of humanity and its spiritual brotherhood. A unique experimental city, Auroville, the brainchild of the Mother, whose inhabitants are drawn from all parts of the world, is situated on the outskirts of the city. Puducherry, which still carries several marks of French culture and heritage, was also the place where the national poet Shri Subramania Bharathiar wrote several of his masterpieces that fanned the flames of freedom and also enriched modern Tamil literature. Bharathidasan, a staunch disciple of Subramania Bharathiar, whose poems stressed social revolution and emancipation of women, was also an eminent son of Puducherry. Therefore, it is, indeed, in the fitness of things that this city with such an illustrious history should also have the distinction of housing a Central University that would meet the needs of the people of the Southern states of India in general and those of Puducherry in particular, for higher education.
Pondicherry University is outstanding among the central universities in India. Teaching and research are its primary functions as in other Central Universities. In addition, it has also affiliated colleges located in Puducherry, Karaikal, Mahe, Yanam and the Union Territory of Andaman & Nicobar Islands. The Union Territory of Lakshadweep is also expected to have a college affiliated to Pondicherry University in the near future. The Pondicherry University Act, 1985 which has several unique features, established the University. Some of them are:
- to disseminate and advance knowledge by providing instructional and research facilities,
- to make special provisions for studies in French and for integrated courses in humanities and sciences in the educational programmes, and
- to take appropriate measures for promoting inter-disciplinary studies and research.
The vast jurisdiction over three Union Territories gives the University a national character. The residents speak such diverse languages as Tamil, Hindi, Bengali, Malayalam, Telugu, English and French.
The main campus of the University has an area of 780 acres spread on either side of the East Coast Road with the large chunk on the landward side of the road. The land is an invaluable gift from the people and the Government of Puducherry for the establishment of the University. The land gently rolls down to the beaches and is interspersed with lovely woods. Cut by a picturesque and deep ravine, this idyllic campus is on the fast track to developing into an ideal breeding ground for innovation and creativity.
The University is fully supported by the University Grants Commission. The University is a member of the Association of Indian Universities and the Association of Commonwealth Universities.
The teaching faculty consists of more than 180 active and erudite members in different Schools, Departments and Centres. Currently, there are around 1,600 students pursuing their post-graduate and doctoral programmes on the campus. These apart, several thousand students on the rolls of the University through the Community College, the Directorate of Distance Education and 68 affiliated colleges, contribute to the richness of the University's learning experience.
The University is academically organized at several levels for efficient functioning. The teaching and research is carried out in the Schools which facilitate and promote inter-disciplinary work. Each School consists of several departments where teaching programmes in specific subject area are conducted.
The primary objective of all the academic effort is to build a strong foundation with all necessary infrastructures for expanding the horizons of knowledge and disseminate it efficiently. Extension activities are also an integral part of the Universitys activities.
The Universitys commitment to innovation in the field of education is reflected in several spheres. It was the first University in India to provide the students with choice of the elective courses they want to study in addition to the major subject area under the so called Choice Based Credit System (CBCS). The students can now choose courses from other Departments and Schools to augment their knowledge base, so that they can face the world on their graduation with confidence.
The corporate life of the University is further enriched by the inputs from visiting teachers. The University, committed as it is to the furtherance of the students knowledge, organizes several Endowment lectures and Foundation lectures by eminent personalities. These lectures provide the students and teachers alike with an updated and deep insight into many areas of study and go a long way in motivating them to excel in their chosen field.
The Universitys effort in teaching and research is furthered by several governmental and non-governmental organizations, which provide funds for research and extension activities.
The University has Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) with the following Universities/ Institutions:
- University of Paris 13, Villetaneuse Cedex
- Confidentiality Agreement between Nicholas Piramal India Ltd, Mumbai and Pondicherry University
- Agreement of Cooperation between Tata Consultancy Services Ltd, Mumbai and Pondicherry University
- M.O.U. with Instiute Francaise, Puducherry and Pondicherry University
- International Crops Research Institute for the Semi Arid Tropics Patancheru, Andhra Pradesh, India
- Institute of Cultural Anthropology and African Studies of University of Munich, Germany, and Kathmandu University, Nepal.