Scotland, India tie up on varsities' cooperation

To aim for collaboration on health, renewable energy

This step assumes significance in the backdrop of the much-hyped Foreign Education Service Providers’ Bill to be introduced in Parliament in November. To begin with, the AIU, a voluntary association of all the Indian universities, will identify areas of cooperation in health and renewable energy with Scottish universities. In the next phase, this collaboration would extend to basic sciences also.

“Indian and Scottish institutions have valuable knowledge and expertise, so both countries stand to benefit from the collaboration that will result from this agreement,”said Michael Russell, Scottish Minister for Culture, External Affairs and the Constitution.

Knowledge exchange
Under the agreement, Universities Scotland and the AIU will facilitate knowledge exchange and sharing of best practice between institutions, promote student and faculty exchanges, and drive collaboration in research and development.

The two forums will also encourage joint degree development and help identify opportunities for enhanced funding to support institutional initiatives and drive advocacy in areas of mutual interest.

“With a world-class educational system, Scotland is actively seeking to support the growth of the Indian education sector, enhancing research and development capabilities to boost sustainable economic growth,” Russell told reporters here.

Setting a deadline for the various activities under the MoU, Beena Shah, AIU Secretary-General,  told Deccan Herald that identification of themes and constitution of thematic groups will be completed by December this year. Projects for collaboration will be identified between January and  April 2010. Implementation of project will be done May 2010 onwards.

This MoU was facilitated by Scottish Development International (SDI), Scotland’s international development agency. To further develop the relationship between Scotland and India, SDI will lead its first education mission to India in November when a list of Indian universities will be drawn up for collaborative projects with Scottish universities.
Russell also announced an application round for Scotland’s Saltire Scholarships—a scheme offering students from India, Canada, China, and the US the opportunity to study at postgraduate masters level in Scotland. The year 2009 marked the first year of the scheme which offers 200 awards of £2000 towards successful applicants’ course fees. Under the scheme, 50 Indian students are now studying for Masters degree at a Scottish university.

Scotland has world class universities and a very robust higher education system, with 14 universities, six other higher education institutions and 43 higher and further education colleges.

Four Scottish universities are ranked in the world’s top 200 and almost half of Scottish university research departments have been recognised for international excellence.
With around 8 per cent of the UK’s population, Scottish universities attract around 13 per cent of all Indian students studying in the United Kingdom.

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