Education is a key element of EU-India Strategic Partnership

 

During his first visit to Kolkata, the Ambassador of the European Union to India, H.E. Mr. Tomasz Kozlowski, interacted with the students during the “EU days” organized by Jadavpur University and IIM-Calcutta.

Ambassador Kozlowski discussed with the students the evolution of the EU, its common foreign and security policy, and the growing EU India cooperation. Following the 14thIndia-EU Summit held in New Delhi on 6 October 2017 where Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi, and Presidents of the European Council, Mr. Donald Tusk and the European Commission, Mr. Jean-Claude Juncker had endorsed a far-reaching joint statement, the relationship has been further enhanced in the fields of foreign and security policy, trade and investment, sustainable modernization and climate change action, research and innovation as well as people-to-people contacts. The EU’s new strategy on India , endorsed in December 2018, proposes to continue on this positive trajectory through joint actions to address global challenges, as well as concrete collaborations that benefit the EU and India alike.

The Ambassador called for greater people-to-people connect and exchange in higher education between European Union and India during his visit. He invited the students, researchers and faculty members to tap the various scholarships and funding opportunities available under EU-funded programmes for higher education and research such as Erasmus+, the Jean Monnet programme andMarie Sklodowska Curie Actions and collaborative projects under the Horizon 2020 programme. 

Education is a key element of EU-India Strategic Partnership, which was also reiterated as an important focus area for cooperation in the recently announcedEU’s strategy on India. “India is the largest beneficiary of the Erasmus+ programme with over 5800 students having received the scholarshipIn the last 3 years alone, about 1,300 students have received full scholarships, 120 Indian universities have been involved in active exchange programmes, and around 100 in joint master programmes or capacity-building projects. We would like the Indian students, researchers and universities to further explore, benefit and collaborate with us using these opportunities,” Ambassador Kozlowski said. He also mentioned that besides strengthening cultural and people-to-people exchange, these programme run by the EU have also led to greater collaboration in diverse areas including science, technology, engineering, mathematics, digital competence, law and international relations and data analysis.

Erasmus Programme and West Bengal:

Out of the 5800 scholarships over the years, 241 Erasmus+ alumni belong to West Bengal including 101 from Jadavpur University. University of Calcutta (28), IIT Kharagpur (15), University of Kalyani (15) and Maulana Abul Kalam Azad University of Technology (9) are some of the other top institutions where Erasmus scholars have been selected from.

The EU-funded Erasmus+ program not only gives scholarships to Indian students but also supports Indian universities under a variety of cooperation programs, where Indian partners are taking an increasingly active role. Eight institutions in Kolkata are part of the Capacity Building programs for Higher Education including Amity University (Kolkata), University of Engineering & Management (Kolkata), Birla Academy of Art & Culture, University of Calcutta, Heritage Institute of Technology, Adamas University, Ramakrishna Mission and Mahanirban Calcutta Research Group. In the last 4 years, since Erasmus Mundus upgraded into Erasmus+, almost 200 Indian universities have benefitted.

Europe today has 4000 higher education institutions, from top-level research establishments to small, specialized colleges, hosting about one-fifth of the world’s students (20 million) and 1.5 million academicians. It is recognized as the leading higher educational destination for international students, offering both cutting edge education, value for money and rich cultural experience. Every year, 1.5 million international students come to Europe, of which around 50,000 are Indians.

 

Horizon 2020 and West Bengal:

The Research and Innovation Section of the EU Delegation, together with R&I Counselors of the EU Member States, visited universities and institutes in Kolkata in September 2018 to reach out and present the EU research and innovation programme Horizon 2020(2014-2020).

Jadavpur University is part of one of the seven successful projects funded by the EU and India on water research. The INDIA-H2O project aims at low-cost purification and recycling of water through bio-mimetic and phyto-technologies transferred from Europe and made adaptable and affordable for replication in India.

 

EU Day:

At Jadavpur University the EU Ambassador participated in an interactive session with the students on “European Union in the World Today”. This was followed by a panel discussion on the same topic in which the panelists included Ms. Friederike Tschampa, Head of Political Section at the EU Delegation in New Delhi, Prof. Omprakash Mishra, Professor of International Relations, Jadavpur University, and Prof. Santanu Chakraborty, Professor of History, University of Calcutta.

At IIM Calcutta, along with Ambassador Kozlowski, Ms. Marika Jakas, Counsellor and Head of the Trade and Economic Affairs Section, EU Delegation and Mr. Dónal Cannon, Head of Regional Representation for South Asia of the European Investment Bank (EIB) interacted with the students. Prof. Anju Seth, Director, IIM Calcutta; and Prof. Prashant Mishra, Dean, New Initiatives & External Relations, hosted the delegation and led the interaction.

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