Education is one of the most important aspect not from today but it is important from ancient times. Man has understood the importance of science and education from early days, he is trying to gain knowledge and trying to understand the various mysteries and secret of the universe. Today like University of Oxford, University of Cambridge, Stanford University etc. are renowned and world famous for their education but the humans have established various universities in ancient times also. Li Haidong is presenting you the list of Top 5 Oldest Universities around the World.
1.) University of Takshashila: Ancient India (Founded 700 BC)
The world’s first University was established in Takshila or Taxila or Takshashila in Ancient India (now in Pakistan) around 700BC. Initially there was not much facilities but over the time, some additional buildings were made, rulers started giving donations and more scholars migrated there. Gradually over time a large campus was developed, which became an important place of learning in the ancient world.
Not only Indians but also students from different countries like Greece, Syria, Babylonia, Arabia, China and Phoenicia came to study around 68 different streams of knowledge. Multiple types of subjects were taught by the experienced masters: Vedas, Astronomy, Astrology, Accounts, Commerce, Language, Grammar, Philosophy, Medicine, Surgery, Documentation, Occult, Music, Dance, Archery, Politics, Warfare, Futurology etc.
The minimum age to enter was 16 years and there were around 10,500 students. The panel of masters included some of the renowned names like Kautilya (the author of the “Arthashastra”), Jivak (medicine), Vishnu Sharma (author and compiler of the Panchtantra) and Panini (the codifier of Sanskrit into today’s form).
2: Nalanda University (Founded: 600 BC)
Nalanda University was one of the first universities in the world, founded approximately around 600 BC, and also reported to have been visited by the Great Buddha himself during his lifetime. At its peak, around 7th century AD, Nalanda University held around 10,000 students and 2000 teachers when it was visited by the great Chinese scholar Xuanzang.
Historical studies have indicated that the Nalanda University was established during the reign of the Gupta emperor Kumaragupta (King at that time). Both Prajñavarman and Xuanzang cite him as the founder, as does the seal discovered at site.
It was destroyed three times in history with first two destruction rectified and the third one (1300) was permanent till 2006.
3: University of Al-Karaouine (Morocco) (Founded: 859 AD)
Al- Karaounine is situated in Fez, Morocco. The University was originally a mosque founded by a lady named Fatima al-Fihri, in 859 AD. Slowly & gradually it became one of the best and leading university of natural sciences.
In 1959, the university added other mainstream subjects like physics, mathematics, chemistry and some foreign languages. This is considered to be one of the oldest degree-granting university present in the world. It is one of the most ancient university that is still running.
4: Al-Azhar University (Egypt) (Founded: 970-972 AD)
It is the second oldest institute of the Islamic world. Which is today still in operation! It is started as the centre for studying the Sunni Islamic learning, Arabic literature and religious focus. It is the Egypt’s oldest degree-granting university and is also renowned as the “Sunni Islam’s most prestigious university”.
Today it teaches the Quaranic sciences and traditions along with the learnings from the Prophet Muhammad on one hand and all other modern fields of science on other. The library of Al-Azhar is considered to be the treasure for the Islamic world and efforts are on to preserve them online.
5: Al Nizamiyya Of Baghdad (Iran) (Founded: 970-972 AD)
It was founded by the Khwaja Nizam al-Mulk in the early eleventh century, this was a part of the series of universities that is started by al-Mulk. Al Nizamiyya still remains the most successful and popular one among all of them.
These universities combined to form the ‘Largest University of Medieval world’. It saw the then great poets, the knowledgeable learned men coming in to teach and share their knowledge.The education offered here was for free.