Saturday, June 23, 2007

Global varsities lend a hand to Bihar

PATNA: Technical education in Bihar is set to go global. The University of Edinburgh, UK, and Iowa State University, USA, have offered tie-ups with institutes providing technical education in Bihar.

"The tie-ups will not only open the gates of the world to students of technical institutes in Bihar, but will also add to the credibility of the degree offered here because the brand name of the internationally-acclaimed universities will be added to it and it will have a better visibility in the employment market," remarked science and technology department commissioner Ajay Kumar Thakur.

The department has been entrusted with the job to process the offers made by the international universities. Prof B Sinha, emeritus professor, Institute of Infrastructure and Environment, School of Engineering and Electronics of the University of Edinburgh, has written a letter to Bihar CM Nitish Kumar expressing the desire to bring a delegation headed by the deputy vice chancellor (international affairs) to meet him.

"We hope to discuss the possibility of helping the state in raising standards in the fields of engineering (civil, chemical, electrical, mechanical and electronics), IT, management and public health," Sinha said in his letter. The internationally-acclaimed university has offered to reach a bilateral agreement for mutual cooperation and benefit, which would include training of undergraduate and postgraduate students of Bihar in Edinburgh and exchange of staff and students between the institutions of Bihar and Edinburgh. It will also cover development of collaborative research projects and organising joint scientific activities such as conferences, seminars and symposia.

In another development, Rajendra Sinha, instructor, international business, Des Moines Area Community College, Ankeny, Iowa, USA, has suggested the Bihar CM to visit Iowa along with his officials to discuss the offers made by Iowa State University (ISU). He has suggested discussing the modalities of setting up partnership "to fully operationalise the five engineering colleges and 17 vocational/technical schools in Bihar.

Sinha, incidentally, was instrumental in facilitating an MoU between ISU and Rajendra Agriculture University, Pusa, in March 2006. He has also suggested to offer vocational and technical courses along with other professionals. "For instance, Dr Modudgu Gupta, who has helped thousands of rural women in South-East Asia learn the 'art of raising fish', will be able to single-handedly transform the economic conditions of rural Bihari women," he has suggested.

However, the tie-ups with internationally-acclaimed universities will need upgradation of existing facilities and huge funds. The government is toying with the idea of approaching the World Bank, USAID, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other such institutions for financial support.

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