With greetings from its pristine glistening forest glades, untouched emerald hills, sanctified with its unsullied air, thawed hearts on the roller coaster roads flanked with sun kissed waterfalls and forest pines, ‘Scotland of the East’ welcomes you to the National Law University Meghalaya (NLU Meg). Nestled in the city’s heart, the dynamic campus offers one of its kind interdisciplinary programmes.

I have a dream to build a University which will have a modern outlook towards knowledge creation and skill generation and be commensurate with international standards in the interdisciplinary study of laws. To me, the law is an organic discipline and ever-changing with social realities and technological development. Law Universities are necessarily think-tanks and the keeper of the knowledge for future norms alongside social development. Law Universities are the foundation for the legal system of any developed society. The future legal mind gets shaped in the fertile environment of law University, which has a bearing over the normative and destiny of any well-governed society.

Today, one factor that is lacking in the legal education of our country is research and innovation, both in the traditional and emerging legal knowledge domains. Such research and innovation should be rooted in Indian socio-economic realities and technological advancements to meet the needs of society. I believe the creation of new knowledge through research should percolate down to the last stakeholder and contribute to the holistic development of life and living in our country. Universities of today should act as a think tank to cater to the aspirations of students, researchers, professions, industries, and societies.

While most law Universities in the country achieve a standard in teaching pedagogies, legal research needs more intensity. The focus of legal research is mostly confined to documentary analysis and is too incremental. Multi-disciplinary, transdisciplinary, and action research are yet to be at the forefront of law school. The relevance of these two is increasing due to the fast development of; technology and the right perspective; emphasis on innovation and intellectual property; financial assets and right perspective; the science of criminology, victimology and penology with criminal law; and constitutionalism and constitutional right interphase with the domain of technology, privacy in technology space, human genetics, constitution morality with changing pattern of social morality; data governance and corporate governance etc.

To compete with global legal research output and make legal research relevant to contemporary society NLU Meg will focus on evidence-based research and propose solutions commensurate with the country’s needs. To this end, the portfolio of research in NLU Meg should be categorised into three broad segments; first, theoretical research for developing the future framework of the knowledge domain; second, engaging in action research to solve the real-life problem; the third future research, by adopting future-oriented research issues to respond to the challenges emerging out of the existing discipline (e.g. arising out of all legal fields and more specific to procedural laws and governance, corporate law and governance, criminal laws and inland security, environmental governance, river basin management, use of lands, urban facilities and infrastructure etc.) or the future disciplines (e.g. AI and law, genetic mapping and regulation, data governance and corporate governance etc.)

NLU Meg will focus on developing micro-credit research-led courses focusing on contemporary requirements of society, market, and practice; like text mining and content analysis in legal research, data science and legal computics, artificial intelligence and contract management. Eventually, University should introduce the trans-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary programmes like a Master of Science in Law and Finance; a Master of Science in Law and Technology; and Master of Science in Criminal law and Internet Forensic, Master of Science in Regulation of Urban Governance and Infrastructural Issues; and Master of Science on Judicial Infrastructure and Management.

The Covid pandemic opens a newer vista of learning. Focus is shifted towards personalising learning with the migration of teaching to the online platform. There is a possibility of creating a simulated learning environment by adopting augmented reality, virtual reality and artificial intelligence. Studies from universities overseas projected its effectiveness in continuous learning, reskilling and upscaling.

NLU Meg will focus on learning outcomes instead of information over load to its students. Focusing on learning outcomes will orient the student with the desired skill required for the practice and industry with evolving political, social and economic realities. Learning outcome needs re-defining and recalibrating the teaching pedagogy, content delivery by the professors and assessment procedure continuously. I am mindful that many professors adopt this approach, but the institutionalisation of it will construct the University future-ready.

Microcredit courses and flexible credit systems, the newer approach, are even recommended by national education policy. And I strongly believe that most of the value is derived in personalised learning out of microcredit courses and a flexible credit system. The knowledge domain is changing very fast, so future generation has to come back to the University to reskill and upskill themselves as per the requirement of fast-changing economic and social realities to keep them relevant in their practice and profession. So, microcredit and flexible credit system act as a stimulus towards the future course of learning into the focus segment, with less intensity of time and cost-effective manner. The process is useful for young students and the elderly returning to the University for reskilling or upskilling themselves.

The University degree programmes are necessarily a packaging of the subjects which the University felt relevant to the job markets. The education approach at NLU Meg will focus more on packaging the subjects by the students to cater to the ever-increasing diversified need of the fast-changing society. Microcredit courses, specialised courses and research-led courses with a flexible option for learners [young students or even advanced learners] to choose from the pool of subjects will help them plan their desired future careers.

Prof. Indrajit Dube

Vice-Chancellor of NLU Meghalaya