Visit heralds breakthrough with Indian academic world
Friday 15 January 2010
The government minister from India with responsibility for Higher Education has visited the University of Surrey to endorse a breakthrough in relations with Indian academic colleagues.
The Hon. Kapil Sibal, the Indian Minister of Human Resource Development, took a tour of the Surrey Space Centre and met senior academics at the University including Professor Nigel Seaton, Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor.
Mr Sibal’s visit coincided with a series of agreements between Indian and UK universities, among them a consortium of British universities led by Surrey and the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Pune (IISER Pune) which is dedicated to research and teaching in the natural and theoretical sciences.
The Vice Chancellor of IISER Pune, Professor Krishna Ganesh, was also part of the delegation.
Mr Sibal said the Indian government noted that the educational system in India was on “the cusp of a revolution.”
The agreement with IISER Pune has a focus on natural and theoretical sciences but with planned developments in social science and the humanities.
It also means there will be an exchange programme between the consortium members and IISER Pune, with faculty and undergraduates coming to the UK and consortium faculty and PhD students going to Pune.
During his visit to the UK, Mr Sibal met First Secretary of State Lord Mandelson together with the University’s Professor Colin Grant, Pro-Vice Chancellor for International Relations at a meeting in central London.
Mr Sibal assumed the higher education portfolio following the Indian general election earlier this year and is a Harvard law school graduate.
The Indian government has been pursuing an expansion of their Higher Education facilities and also has determined that links with foreign universities are a priority.
The South East-India Partnership Network (SE-IPNet) Consortium is made up of the University of Kent, Queen Mary, University of London, Royal Holloway, University of London, the University of Southampton, the University of Surrey and the University of Sussex. Surrey is the co-ordinating institution.