Tuesday, October 29, 2013

University of Chicago to open India Centre

After Beijing and Paris, the University of Chicago will open an India centre to boost research and teaching collaborations but not a campus, at least in the near future.

The academic centre will be a “home for research and education for University of Chicago faculty, graduate students and undergraduates working in India and throughout South Asia, as well as Indian researchers and students representing a wide array of institutions and scholars from around the world”, the University said in a statement after the media briefing in New Delhi on Monday.

The centre will be ready by the end of March, president Robert J. Zimmer told reporters. “The centre in Delhi reflects the importance the university places on global engagement and our commitment in India and South Asia particularly,” said Zimmer.

The centre will promote scholarship and teaching under three broad umbrellas: business, economics, law and policy; science, energy, medicine and public health; and culture, society, religion and the arts. It will represent all parts of the university, including professional divisions.

The centre will not, however, grant degrees. “We are not for giving degrees through this,” Zimmer said. The opening of the centre has merely coincided with India’s willingness to open up its higher education sector, he said.

The Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) on 10 September said that the government has got a go-ahead from the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion and the Department of Economic Affairs to allow overseas universities to operate independently in India as non-profit ventures. The plan will be notified after being vetted by the Ministry of Law.

The Chicago Booth School of Business was not exploring an opportunity to open a centre in India, Zimmer said, adding that it has already established degree-granting centres in London and Singapore.

Gary Tubb, faculty director of the India centre, said it is exploring research collaborations with Indian institutes and the University’s study abroad programme will benefit from the India centre. The University is spending $3.45 million (around Rs. 210 million today) on physical infrastructure. A MHRD official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said top global universities opening centres in India and focusing on research collaborations can be viewed as a “good first step” towards them opening campuses in the country sometime in the future.

Source: Mint, October 29, 2013

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