Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda University (formerly known as ‘Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda Educational and Research Institute’) is the first step in the actualization of Swami Vivekananda’s vision that Belur Math would develop into an all-round University. It was declared by Government of India through its Ministry of Human Resource Development on the advice of University Grants Commission as an institution deemed-to-be-University under Section 3 of UGC Act, 1956, by a Gazette Notification No.F.9-54/2004-U.3 dated 5 January 2005. The University was formally inaugurated by the Revered President of Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission on 4 July 2005, the sacred day of mahasamadhi (passing away) of Swami Vivekananda.
Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda University, abbreviated as RKMVU is head-quartered at Belur Math in the district of Howrah, West Bengal has the following unique characteristics:
- Emphasis on certain ‘thrust areas’ which are also ‘gap areas’ in these areas scarcely receive any attention in the conventional universities in India,
- Choice of the ‘thrust areas’ which are directly beneficial to the common man particularly in rural India,
- Multi-campus character—the university operates through a wide network of Faculty Centres specializing in these thrust areas and located at the various branch-centres of Ramakrishna Mission in various parts of India,
- Emphasis on the inculcation of higher human values to impart ‘man-making, life-building and character-making education’ as envisaged by Swami Vivekananda.
To start with, the ‘thrust areas’ have been chosen:
1. Disability Management and Special Education
2. Integrated Rural Development including Tribal Development
3. Indian Cultural and Spiritual Heritage and Value Education
4. Fundamental Sciences—Integrated Teaching and Research
5. Disaster Management including Relief and Rehabilitation
Courses in the first four of the above areas are already being run at the Ramakrishna Mission centres at Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu), Narendrapur (West Bengal), Ranchi (Jharkhand), Belur (West Bengal) and Swami Vivekananda’s Ancestral House (Kolkata, West Bengal).