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France woos India with Advanced Technological Education

Indian IIT students can tap into a recently established, generous EUR 200,000 science and technology fund to study at the Paris Institute of Science and Technology which includes 12 of France’s leading engineering schools.
BY Pooja Prakash |   30-12-2010
Photo by Bods Andrew Bowden (Flickr Creative Commons) 

France’s educational ambitions in India were the centerpiece of President Nicolas Sarkozy's visit to India in December 2010. France has set up a centre of excellence at IIT Rajasthan which will showcase France’s famed expertise in aeronautical engineering and energy research. The visit also spurred the creation of a generous EUR 200,000 fund for sending Indian students on study and research stints to the Paris Institute of Science and Technology (ParisTech), which counts 12 of France’s best engineering schools and one premier business school under its university umbrella.

France hopes to triple the number of Indian students enrolled at French universities by 2012.

The French minister for higher education and research, Valerie Pecresse met Indian human resource development minister Kapil Sibal and discussed areas of cooperation. Pecresse said France hoped to triple the number of Indian students enrolled at French universities by 2012. Currently, there are roughly 1,700 Indian students in France.

“France and India call for an increase in bilateral student exchanges and pledge to facilitate the academic stays of French students in India and Indian students in France,” pledges a joint statement.

India and France sign education pact

There are marked similarities between Indian and French higher educational institutions which lack autonomy as they are state controlled

India and France have also signed a pact to ensure collaboration between the 10 oldest Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) and ParisTech. The partnership will promote institutional exchanges; student exchanges, joint conferences, short courses and meetings on research issues. At the higher research level, long-term cooperation in target areas will be established through the co-supervision of doctoral students who will divide their time during their PhD research between France and India.

Generous fund for Science & Technology

India’s second largest tech company, Infosys and Paris-headquartered European Aero Defense and Space Company announced they would pool EUR 200,000 for the creation of the IITs-ParisTech fund for science and technology

As a consequence of this high level visit, India’s second largest tech company, Infosys and Paris-headquartered European Aero Defense and Space Company announced they would pool EUR 200,000 for the creation of the IITs-ParisTech fund for science and technology. At least EUR 70,000 will be used as a short-term education and travel grant for exchange students at the undergraduate and Masters’ level. The remaining EUR 130,000 will fund students doing their PhD research, either in India or France.

Professor Devang V Khakhar, director of IIT Bombay said: “We expect 20 students will be able to get the benefit of this fund each year.”

ParisTech includes French engineering schools such as AgroParisTech, Arts et Métiers ParisTech, Chimie ParisTech, Ecole des Ponts ParisTech, Ecole Polytechnique and Telecom ParisTech.

Another memorandum was signed between the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore and France’s Institute de Recherche pour le Developpement (IRD), to establish a joint laboratory for water sciences called Indo-French Cell for Water Sciences (IFCWS), or Cellule Franco-Indienne de Recherché en Sciences de l'Eau (CEFIRSE).

"The lab will strive to strike partnerships with research organizations in India, France and abroad," an official statement states.

The educational pacts inked during President Sarkozy’s swing through India come at a time when both countries are dealing with similar higher education improvement challenges relating to governance and autonomy. There are marked similarities between Indian and French higher educational institutions which lack autonomy as they are state controlled. Most French institutions are government funded and need sanctions before changing fees or introducing new courses.

The partnership between IIT-Rajasthan and a French consortium of higher educational institutions will help the new centre of excellence, gain depth in areas such as health technology, renewable energy, quantum computing and mechanical engineering.

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