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Wednesday, Nov 03, 2004

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Purdue University in talks with IIT Bombay, Manipal institutions

Tunia Cherian George

Mumbai , Nov. 2

STUDENTS in India may soon have better access to programmes at Purdue University, in Indiana, USA, thanks to talks that it is holding with IIT Bombay and educational institutions in Manipal, Karnataka.

The President of Purdue University, Mr Martin C. Jischke, told Business Line here that the linkage with Manipal grows out of the institutions' strong programmes in pharmacy. He was also talking to officials at IIT Bombay about the possibility of starting an exchange programme for their engineering students, he said.

Purdue is a leading land-grant institution and has around 1,000 Indian students enrolled in its programmes.

Mr Jischke is currently in India, meeting with alumni and parents of students enrolled in Purdue University. His visit is the first by a top-ranking official from the university to India and is in line with a practice that he set when he took over stewardship of the institute four years back.

"My travels are a reflection of our commitment to internationalise programmes at Purdue. My visits have been learning experiences and the current tour has helped me gain a better understanding of India's economic development in recent years," Mr Jischke said.

He has earlier toured China and Europe, while his current tour will also take him to Hong Kong.

Mr Jischke emphasised that Purdue has one of the largest concentrations of Indian students enrolled for its programmes. Also, a number of its faculty members are of Indian origin.

"The objective of my visit is to encourage more students to enrol in our courses and to meet with parents of students currently enrolled in the University. We also hope to connect with alumni and explore possible partnerships with educational institutions and private companies," he said.

According to him, globalisation of businesses today makes it necessary for academic institutions to internationalise their programmes and draw students and faculty from across the world.

The need to gain international experience is also seeing more and more American students taking up programmes abroad.

"You are going to see more US students enrolling in institutions across the world, including in India. The number of students from the US studying abroad has tripled over the past four years," he says.

Asked about the decline in number of Indian students applying for studies in the US, due mainly to visa processing delays, he said that the situation has improved since the slow-down immediately after 9/11.

Purdue, on its part, is encouraging students to apply early so as to avoid last-minute hassles. The university is working with the US Government to speed up the visa issuing process, he added.

Purdue has an annual budget of $1.5 billion, with Indiana providing it assistance of $350 million.

The remainder, he said, is made good from fee collections, research grants and private donations.

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