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Here is a list of few oldest continually operating universities if World is considered:
  1. UNIVERSITY OF AL-KARAOUINE, 859 AD
Guiness Book of World Records names this university the “oldest existing, and continually operating educational institution in the world.”Located in Fes, Morocco, this university originally was a mosque founded in 859 by Fatima al-Fihri, a woman. It developed into one of the leading universities for natural sciences. It wasn’t until 1957 that the university added mathematics, physics, chemistry and foreign languages.
2. AL-AZHAR UNIVERSITY, 970 AD
This university, located in Egypt, is the world’s second oldest surviving degree-granting institute. Founded in 970-972, this university serves as a center for Arabic literature and Sunni Islamic learning. Al-Azhar university concentrates upon a religious syllabus, which pays special attention to the Quranic sciences and traditions of the Prophet Muhammad on the one hand, while also teaching all modern fields of science.It got status of University officially in year 1961.
3. UNIVERSITY OF BOLOGNA, 1088
This university was the first higher-learning institute established in the Western world in 1088. The term, “university,” was coined at its creation. Located in Bologna, Italy, this university led the Western world in educational innovations until the period between the two World Wars. At that time, leaders called upon the university to forge relationships with institutions in more advanced countries to modernize and re-invigorate its educational philosophies. This university met the call and, today, is considered a leader in the European university system.
4. UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD, 1096-1167
With an alumni list that includes 27 UK Prime Ministers, 20 Archbishops of Canterbury, 12 saints, 27 Nobel laureates, 50 Nobel Prize winners and one Sir Stephen Hawking, the University of Oxford is as respected as it is old.
While the university’s exact foundation date remains a little vague, evidence of teaching dates as far back as 1096, and some claim it was established even earlier.
Currently fifth in the world rankings, the University of Oxford is truly one of the highest-ranked and oldest universities in the world, catering to a student.
5. UNIVERSITY OF SALAMANCA1134
The third oldest university in the world also happens to be the oldest university of Spain. Founded in 1134 in Madrid, the university was awarded a royal charter in 1218. Another reason for its place in history is that it was here that Christopher Columbus requested royal support for his expeditions in the late 15th century. There are about 30,000 students enrolled in the university presently, pursuing education in diverse fields.
6. UNIVERSITY OF PARIS, 1160–1250
The University of Paris was one of the first universities to be established in mainland Europe between 1160 and 1250 and is still considered the top university in Paris. The only time the university ceased operations was during the French Revolution, between 1793 and 1896. In 1970, the university was divided into 13 independent universities whose campuses are located across the city. The units now function independently, although it can be claimed that they are in fact successors of the University of Paris and continue to build upon its legacy.
7. UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE, 1209
The genesis of the University of Cambridge are rather clamorous. It has its roots in an association of scholars at University of Oxford who got into a conflict with townsfolk and left Oxford. The university formally came in to being in 1209, making it second oldest university in the English speaking world. Its existing strength is over 19,000 students, of which 4,100 students are from non-European countries. The University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge are considered traditional rivals and compete against each other in a number of events, including cricket, rugby and the annual Boat Race.
8. UNIVERSITY OF PADUA, 1222
The University of Padua – Universit√† di Padova or UNIPD – was founded in 1222 (although some evidence puts it before this date) and is one of a number of medieval universities in Italy still operating.
Currently ranked 249th in the world rankings, the Università di Padova is notable for its revolutionary early research in astronomy, law, medicine and philosophy.
It now hosts around 62,000 students in the city of Padua, the setting of William Shakespeare’s famous play The Taming of the Shrew. In 1545, the Universit√† di Padova established the Botanical Garden of Padova, now one of the oldest academic gardens in the world. It also runs nine museums.
9. UNIVERSITY OF NAPLES FEDERICO II, 1224
University of Naples Federico II exists in the world’s oldest inhabited city of Naples in Italy and is the world’s oldest public, non-religious university. The famous university was established by Emperor Frederick II of the Holy Roman Empire in 1224. The university is home to close to 100,000 students and offers a wide range of academic programmes. The university has been a learning ground for many a known saints, philosophers, politicians, presidents and scientists, including Saint Thomas Aquinas, Giambattista Vico and Saint Alphonsus Liguori.
10. UNIVERSITY OF SIENA, 1290
Located in the small city of Siena in the Tuscany region, the University of Siena is another of the oldest universities in the world with a strong global standing, currently ranked 701-750 in the world.
With enrolment numbers upwards of 20,000, the University of Siena campus comprises almost half of the city’s entire population. The city center itself, also of historic importance, has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is visited annually by over 163,000 tourists who come for the food, the art, the museums and the medieval heritage.
11. UNIVERSITY OF COIMBRA, 1290
The University of Coimbra was established in 1290 in the capital of Portugal. Historically, the university kept relocating per the demands of the kings, but finally set camp in Coimbra. Coimbra is famous for its rich history and considered to be the third largest urban center in Portugal. The university went through many historical reforms in the 18th century and was once the only operating university in the entire country. The university is made up of 24,000 students and considered to be the most cosmopolitan university in Portugal. The University of Coimbra is also included in the UNESCO World Heritage List because of its traditional culture, historic buildings and wonderful city-wide views.
Now Taking India in Consideration as I am an Indian & would love to share about it's old functional institutes of pre-pro-indepedence ,
From the History Books!
It is amazing that some of the universities that still stand tall dates back to nearly two centuries. Saluting the spirit of such magnificent universities this is just a small effort to list the oldest universities in India.
Though this list doesn't include the likes of Nalanda University which happens to be one of the oldest of the world; here you'll only find universities that are still in their operations, which apparently Nalanda isn't.
The criteria for compiling the list was to select institutions which started its operation as universities or were granted university status later in the years. The only exceptions are institutes which were opened earlier but only recently were granted university status.
1) SENATE OF SERAMPORE COLLEGE (University)
  • Established: 1818, university status in 1829 (200 years old)
  • Serampore institute is the first institute of India to be granted the university status and also the oldest. This only offers studies related to Theology/Divinity. There are 52 colleges affiliated to it from all over India.
2) UNIVERSITY OF CALCUTTA
  • Established: 1857 (161 years old)
  • True to its motto this university is at the forefront when it comes to higher studies. The University of Calcutta has given many students who have done great work in their respective fields of expertise. Some of the notable students include Rabindranath Tagore, C.V Raman, and Amartya Sen.
3) UNIVERSITY OF MUMBAI
  • Established: 1857 (161 years old)
  • One of the major universities in India, this provides affiliation to more than 700 colleges. This is also one of the largest when it comes to the number of students.
4) UNIVERSITY OF MADRAS
  • Established: 1857 (161 years old)
  • With six campuses and more than 100 colleges, this is one of the major centers of learning in South India. Among the affiliated colleges Loyola college, Presidency College, and Queen Mary's college are notable.
5) RAVENSHAW UNIVERSITY
  • Established: 1868 (150 years)
  • Established in 1868, one of the oldest and largest institutes in India which subsequently became an autonomous college with CPE status by UGC and 'A' grade by NAAC.The College originally was affiliated to Calcutta University and thereafter to Patna University in 1917 and was finally affiliated to Utkal University in 1943. It runs 23 Post-Graduate courses with research facilities and 27 Undergraduate honours courses.
6) ALIGARH UNIVERSITY
  • Established: 1875 (143 years old)
  • AMU is one of the few institutions that are conferred with the prestigious Institute of National Importance (INI). INIs are considered to be at the forefront of developing highly skilled and creative thinkers.
6) PANJAB UNIVERSITY
  • Established: 1882 (136 years old)
  • This has more than 75 departments of teaching and research. Also has 3 regional centers and about 190 colleges. Has more than 550 acres of the campus area.
7) ALLAHABAD UNIVERSITY
  • Established: 1887 (131 years old)
  • It is also known as the Oxford of the East. This premier institute covers fields such as Arts, Science, Commerce, Law, and Medicine through its courses. This has the unique distinction of giving many notable politicians such as VP Singh, Madan Mohan Malaviya, Murli Manohar Joshi, Arjun Singh among others.
8) BANARAS UNIVERSITY
  • Established: 1916 (102 years old)
  • Students from all over India come here for higher studies. In fact, it is the largest when it comes to resident students. More than 20,000 students live and study here. Banaras itself is an important place politically as well as spiritually.
9) UNIVERSITY OF MYSORE
  • Established: 1916 (102 years old)
  • The erstwhile princely state of Mysore's Maharaja was instrumental in the foundation of this university. The University of Mysore is famous for its library all over India which has more than 800,000+ books.
10) PATNA UNIVERSITY
  • Established: 1917 (103 years old)
  • Patna University is the first university that was established in Bihar. Among all the list of universities in Bihar, this is the most famous. With 10 colleges, it reaches many parts of the state.


1 Comments

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