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Unique landscape of Germany

Clusters help universities reach out to research centres and industries, says Germany’s ambassador

education Updated: Nov 13, 2013 10:52 IST
Ayesha Banerjee

The number of Indian students making their way to Germany has increased to about 25% in 2013 from the 20% growth registered in the last five years, Michael Steiner, German ambassador, told HT Education in a recent interview in New Delhi. The European Union’s economic powerhouse was also reaching out to smaller cities Hyderabad and Ahmedabad as part of the Excellence on Tour initiative of the German House for Research and Innovation (DWIH) New Delhi.

So, young people visiting Ahmedabad’s Science City, from November 15, will learn more about Germany through the cultural programmes, interactions with visiting university officials and be encouraged to conduct interesting experiements - extracting DNA among other things! As part of a larger programme, those looking for higher education and research opportunities will get information on the European Research Council Grant. “Experts are flying into Delhi, too, on November 27 for a session with students at the Max Mueller Bhavan,” says Dr Alexander P Hansen, coordinator for DWIH. Students in Ahmedabad, Bangalore and Delhi will be coached on application processes for the grant of €3 to 3.5 million. “This is being done at the right time as the official applications for the grants will be made in March and April 2014,” says Hansen.

DAAD, the German Academic Exchange Service which financially supports students has registered an increase of 56.7% Indian scholars since 2008. The main attraction for the students, apart from the research and innovation advantages in Germany is the highly subsidised low tuition cost. Language is also not an issue as 1500 bachelor’s, master’s and PhD programmes are offered in English.

The education landscape, too, has changed, says Steiner. “When I studied in France and Germany it was totally different. Universities in Berlin, Cologne, Frankfurt or Munich are not isolated places now as it was in my time. They are part of clusters.” Academic institutes coexist with research institutes and industries. It becomes easy for students to study and do internships with companies and get hands-on training to find a job. And as Germany has the lowest unemployment rate among young people in all 28 EU countries, getting a job becomes all that much easier for international students, says Steiner.