Giving a boost to higher education ties with India, British Columbia (BC) will soon enter into partnership agreements with some Indian institutions. This was announced during a recent trade mission wherein a number of BC post-secondary institutions expressed interest in collaborating with Indian institutions. The agreements will support initiatives such as exchange of research scientists to pursue research in the areas of energy and clean energy technology, and create opportunities for student exchange with BC.
The institutions from BC that participated in the mission included: British Columbia Institute of Technology; Simon Fraser University; and University of British Columbia (UBC).
Examples of some of the tie-ups between institutions from the two countries include Simon Fraser University establishing an Indian Council for Cultural Relations Visiting Scholars Programme to foster cultural relations by hosting world-class Indian scholars from many disciplines.
Amrik Virk, BC’s advanced education minister in India as part of the trade mission, says that the mission is meant to encourage more Indian institutions and students to come to BC. In 2012/13, there were 112,800 internationals students in BC, an increase of 20% since 2009/10. In the same period, there was an 188% increase in the number of students coming to BC from India.
Under the BC Jobs Plan, a target of a 50% increase in the number of foreign students in BC by 2016 has been set. Arvind Gupta, president, UBC, announced a contribution of a quarter of a million dollars in non-public funds to support merit-based scholarships for Indian students joining UBC undergraduate programmes. UBC will offer 11 Outstanding International Student awards at $10,000 CAD each, and five International Major Entrance Scholarships, valued at $28,000 CAD each to Indians.