The evolution of Sri City, an integrated business hub 50km north of Chennai in Nellore, makes a fascinating story. Within a decade since its launch in 2008, it has become home to over 175 companies from 27 countries, with total investments close to $4 billion. But, it is not just business that is thriving here; Sri City is emerging as an educational hub, too. And Krea University, an upcoming next-generation global university, pioneering “inter-woven” learning, is proof of that.
With an initial corpus of Rs750 crore, Krea is all set to start undergraduate courses in science and liberal arts, in July. In addition, the IFMR Graduate School of Business at Krea University offers MBA and executive courses in management. The university has currently a 40-acre campus, with plans to expand to 200 acres.
Krea University, a philanthropic project, is the brainchild of Kapil Viswanathan, a serial entrepreneur and a graduate of Harvard and Stanford. “Krea means thought and action. It is the coming together of creativity and action,” says Viswanathan. He has roped in thought and business leaders like Raghuram Rajan, Narayanan Vaghul, R. Seshasayee, Anand Mahindra, Sajjan Jindal, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw and Anu Aga. IFMR, which has a legacy of four decades in higher education, is the sponsoring body for the upcoming university.
With India embracing new avenues of research and education, Krea is all set to create a new benchmark in the country’s educational sector. “The new undergraduate courses will be in ten disciplines during the first year. The list is expansive,” says Viswanathan.
The core tenet of Krea curriculum is to connect the academic world with the ground realities the students would face in the different stages of their careers. “We want to bring in the real world into the classrooms so that it gives immersive experience,” says Sunder Ramaswamy, vice chancellor, Krea University. For this, Krea will have a “professor of practice” in every discipline, who will engage with students to give a taste of real-world scenarios in different domains. “For instance, we have roped in people like pianist Anil Srinivasan,” says Ramaswamy, “to ensure that the students get evolved in their respective fields in a curated way.”
“Interwoven learning is designed to prepare students for a changing world,” says Viswanathan. Ramaswamy adds that at Krea students will learn how to have their learning process. “For that, they have to unlearn a lot,” he says. “Our academic council has spent a lot of time in preparing a world-class curriculum which will be more practice than theory.”
The interwoven approach, explains Ramaswamy, will bring together arts, science, creativity and action. Viswanathan adds that Krea will focus on developing students with data analysis, quantitative reasoning and computational skills. With just a few months to go for the formal launch of the university, the admissions for the undergraduate courses have already begun.