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Wen might take IIT to China
George Iype in New Delhi |
April 08, 2005 14:26 IST
Will there be an Indian Institute of Technology in China?
It could be a possibility, if the schedule of the Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to India next week is any indication.
The Chinese premier is undertaking a major diplomatic mission to four South Asian countries, including India, from April 5 to 12 to foster mutual trust and propel Beijing's relations in the region to a new high.
Premier Jiabao, who will visit India's Silicon Valley Bangalore, will hold wide-ranging diplomatic talks with Indian leaders led by Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh in New Delhi.
But the Chinese premier is said to be so impressed with 'Brand IIT' that the ministry of external affairs has fixed up a schedule for him to interact with the IITians in Delhi.
So amidst his diplomatic parleys, Jiabao will visit IIT Delhi and address a gathering of some 700 IITians on April 12.
"We are excited about the fact that the Chinese premier is coming to our institute. We were told that he wanted to interact with the students here. We do not know what he will be talking to us about, but I am sure it will be a great day for us," said Professor S M Ishtiaque, Dean of Students Welfare, IIT Delhi.
Ishtiaque said that the visit by the Chinese premier might lead to the setting up an IIT in China. "A number of deans and directors of Chinese institutes have visited our campus in the past few years. And they have shown keen interest in wanting to set up an institute of the status of the IIT in China," he said.
The dean said probably the trip by Jiabao will lead to the possibility of IIT going to a Chinese destination.
The Chinese premier's visit to India actually coincides with the 55th anniversary celebrations of the establishment of diplomatic relations between India and China.
China has said that the 55th anniversary should become a new point of departure for deeper friendship and better cooperation between the two countries.
Apart from diplomacy, one of the key areas of discussion between the Chinese and Indian officials will be on how to share knowledge and boost the information technology sectors in India and China.
Chinese officials have often said that they have been highly impressed by the high quality IT education that the Indian company NIIT has been imparting across the country over the years.
NIIT was the first Indian company to be given permission by the Chinese government to set up a wholly owned foreign enterprise (WOFE) in China. NIIT has been allowed to set up professional education centres anywhere in China.
NIIT's education network in China today exceeds 100-centre mark in 25 provinces in China.
In a unique win-win-win model for the Students-University and NIIT, the company has tied up with over 10 leading universities of China to set up centres within the university campuses. Three of the leading Software Parks also have become NIIT partners and have set up NIIT centres in their parks.
IITs looking overseas too
In the last two years, the Indian government has been seeking to tap overseas market for Indian education as well as check brain drain. In this regard, the government had proposed to set up IIT branches in Singapore, Mauritius, Sri Lanka and West Asian and South East Asian countries.
"IITs' presence would also help in developing linkages with entire South East Asia and China as well as support in promoting India's economic and commercial interest in the Asia-Pacific region," a government committee under the Union ministry of technology and science said in a report in 2003.
The floodgates for the Indian brand of education to go global opened up in January 2003 when this expert committee -- set up by the University Grants Commission -- suggested that premier IITs and Indian Institutes of Management be allowed to set up shop on global shores.
More tie-ups in the offing
Last year, IIT Bombay tied up with the prestigious National University of Singapore, paving the way for the former to offer M.Tech courses to students in Singapore.
Under the memorandum of understanding that IIT-Bombay has signed with the National University of Singapore, students will be allowed to be attached to major Indian companies. It also allows Indian students to work for Singapore-based global companies.
Other countries that are now queuing up for tie-ups with the IITs and IIMs include Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Mauritius, the United Arab Emirates and some other West Asian nations.
Experts say that these countries, which have a low level of science and technology activity, are captivated by the IITs and IIMs as they feel the Indian schools could be a stepping stone to their educational, management and scientific advancement.Now that the Chinese premier himself has shown keen interest in IITs, the next step for the Indian high-tech education could be China.