This article is from the archives of the UB Reporter.

UB joins in effort to enhance science, engineering education in India

Published: August 4, 2005

Contributing Editor

UB has joined with four U.S. universities, a group of Indian institutions and three international corporations to enhance science-and-engineering education in India using a new satellite distance-learning network operated by the Indian Space Research Organization.

Satish K. Tripathi, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, was in Washington, D.C., recently to meet with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and sign the memorandum of understanding establishing the Indo-U.S. Inter-University Collaborative Initiative in Higher Education and Research.

The other U.S. universities involved in the collaborative effort are the University of California, Berkeley; University of California, San Diego; Carnegie Mellon University; and Cornell University. The Indian university involved in the initiative is AMRITA University located in Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu State.

"UB is partnering with a distinguished group of Indian and U.S. institutions and companies in combining faculty expertise and distance-learning technologies to expand access to higher and technical education throughout India," said Tripathi.

"India," he added, "has one of the largest and fastest-growing higher education systems in the world, producing a large number of top engineering students to support the high-tech industries of the world. The globalization of higher education, exemplified by this far-sighted initiative, gives UB the opportunity to be involved in building capacity in India and helping to prepare students who may eventually come to UB as graduate students and faculty."

Tripathi noted that "UB and the other top-tier universities participating in this project will not only contribute to the expansion of technical education in India, but also to the globalization of higher education."

Under the agreement, faculty from the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences will teach in India for a semester at a time and will be involved in contributing teaching materials to a digital content library that will be created for the Indian students.

Research collaborations with faculty in India also will be encouraged.

Designed to facilitate better access to engineering education for India's vast population, the project will utilize Edusat, a satellite launched by the Indian Space Research Organization, to beam educational programming to multiple educational institutions across India.

"UB's participation in this project is a tribute to the university's national and international stature," said Stephen C. Dunnett, vice provost for international education. "A major player in international education for many years, UB is expanding its involvement in India, which has one of the fastest-growing economies in the world."

Dunnett noted that UB enrolls more than 700 students from India, many of whom are in graduate programs in engineering and computer science. "The outstanding students we receive from India contribute in vital ways, not only to UB's own educational and research endeavors, but to the advancement of high-tech industries in the United States," he added.

According to the memorandum of understanding, the goal is to ensure "quick and simultaneous delivery of lecture sessions" to undergraduate and graduate-level college and university students throughout India in a broad range of subjects. The latter include computer science and engineering, information and communication technologies, electronics and communication, material sciences, biotechnology and bioinformatics, nanotechnology and others.

The project also is designed to enhance India's educational institutions to international standards.

Funding is being provided by QUALCOMM Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Cadence Design Systems Inc.