Friday, August 06, 2010

Global suitors woo new IITs

Germany and Australia have joined a growing number of developed nations keen to tie up with the new Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) that have opened in the last two years. Both have formally told the Indian government their universities would like to collaborate with the new IITs. The reason is clear: the developed world is looking at India both for trained technical manpower and as a potential research hub. Germany wants to collaborate with IIT-Mandi that started in 2009 while Australia is interested in IIT-Patna, started in 2008, top government sources told HT. They join Japan, France and the United Kingdom, which are already in talks with the government to collaborate with the new IITs in Hyderabad, Jodhpur and Ropar, respectively.

The proposed collaboration involves the foreign partner providing technical knowhow and assistance to the IITs, and engaging in exchange programmes and joint research, sources said. The talks so far with Japan, France and the U.K. suggest that the foreign partners are keen to tap Indian talent --- both in terms of trained engineers and research ---through their collaboration with the IITs, the sources said.

Japan, for instance, wants IIT-Hyderabad to incorporate the Japanese language and the country's management practices in its course structure --- a move that would ease the integration of the institute's graduates into Japanese firms. Top Japanese companies are also expected to help train students at this IIT.

The early IITs too were hand-held and assisted --- financially and technically --- by foreign countries when they were started half a century ago, though that was largely to help a newly independent, struggling nation find its educational feet. IIT-Bombay was helped by the erstwhile Soviet Union and UNESCO, IIT-Kanpur and Madras by the U.S. and Germany and IIT-Delhi by Britain.

Source: Hindustan Times, August 6, 2010

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