At the end of 2020, we thought it was a tough year, and welcomed 2021 with a lot of hope and excitement of getting back to normal. But 2021 turned out to be an even more testing year!
During the year we saw very challenging times, especially during the second wave of covid. I feel blessed that I am healthy and safe; but feel saddened for having lost some friends, family and colleagues to the pandemic. I am very proud about what Ashoka could achieve during these testing times. Ashoka administration ensured that the campus continued to be functional and safe through-out the year. While all the classes were online, the campus never really ‘locked down’. Several administrative and res life staff and workers continued to work in-spite of the obvious risks; to ensure that the students and faculty on campus were taken care of. The one of its kind IQC facility for covid-19, helped weather the tough conditions during the second wave. During the year, we did not just maintain, but enhanced Ashoka’s infrastructure, capabilities and teams. On infrastructure, a new faculty housing was completed and occupied. The new academic building (AC04) which we typically refer to as the Library building, is largely completed. This building has a world class library spread across two floors, a large space for Ashoka Archives, a unique Black Box for performing arts, a nice café and several classrooms, faculty offices, etc. This significantly adds to the space available for students and faculty to study, research, work and collaborate. An academic research area is also under construction, and should be ready early next year. Am excited to share, that the university started construction of the new campus, just adjacent to the existing one. In the first phase, we shall build the Trivedi School of Biological Sciences, an Innovation Centre and two residential towers. We expect these to be ready by mid-2024. Finally, we have successfully bid for more land adjacent to our existing plots, which will take care of Ashoka’s long term terms. 2022 was also a record year in terms of outreach and admissions. Our teams reached out to many more students, we received record number of application and build a strong and diverse batch for UG, YIF and MA batches. Realizing the financial difficulties that many of our student families were going through, the fee increase was deferred by a semester. The financial aid team tried to help as many students as possible with scholarships. Am proud that Ashoka gave more than 75 crores in scholarships during the year. Ashoka employees across teams worked hard, demonstrated high level of commitment and flexibility to ensure that Ashoka continues to move towards its mission. Ashoka renewed its focus on improving the people processes, shared values and talent development by launching the AshokaSutra. Ashoka set up a robust covid response system wherein several vaccination drives were conducted to vaccinate students, faculty, and staff. During the second wave, there were several positive cases on campus. Ashoka’s staff worked around the clock to ensure we were always ahead of the virus. The infirmary was expanded to accommodate up to 14 beds and IQC was set up at RH 5 to handle and contain any infected people on campus. Prompt testing of the virus followed by isolation has helped keep the transmission at bay. Proper medical care was provided to the infected and sanitary meals were packaged and delivered to their rooms every day. As we head towards a new year and a new semester, we are looking forward to welcoming all the students back on campus soon and resume in person classes.
Pro Vice-Chancellor (Administration & Finance)