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Chicago to expand footprint in India's education arena

education Updated: Nov 21, 2012 10:29 IST
Charu Sudan Kasturi

The University of Chicago, one of the world's top universities, may soon open a centre in Delhi as a part of efforts to increase its student, faculty and research footprint in India - the world's largest higher education market after China.

The university is currently searching for land in the capital for the centre, which will focus on research, faculty collaboration and exchange, but will not - at least immediately - offer degrees, Sunil Kumar, dean of the prestigious UChicago Booth School of Business, told HT on Saturday.

"One of my focus areas as dean is to strengthen the perception of Booth School in India," Kumar, born and educated in India, said in an interview on the sidelines of the HT Leadership Summit - where he spoke on the challenges facing Indian higher education.

UChicago, which has produced 32 Nobel laureates, figures among the world's top 10 universities in ranking put out by the QS World Universities and Times Higher Education Universities.

UChicago's economics department - which has trained economists such as Milton Friedman and Paul Samuelson, among others - is considered among the best in American academia. The Booth School is placed in the same league as Harvard Business School and Wharton, and has the second-largest endowment among all American B-schools.

Despite this, Booth School does not enjoy a "perception" similar to its companions on the list, Kumar admitted.

At a time when most American universities are increasingly relying on international students - particularly ones from China and India who already comprise 5% of Booth's student population - it is an important factor to consider.

"I don't see any actual problem in terms of either the faculty we have, or the number, or the quality of international applications we get. But there's definitely a perception issue," Kumar, who studied at the Indian Institute of Science-Bangalore, said.

(An earlier version of the story incorrectly suggested that UChicago may offer degrees at the India centre.)