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European univs to woo Indian students

india Updated: Jul 09, 2006 15:13 IST
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In a catch-up game with the US, Europe will showcase its best universities and spotlight its attractiveness as an academic destination for India's best and brightest students at a three-day higher education fair in New Delhi from Nov 24-26.

"At this fair, European universities will display their products and expertise and try to attract the best and the brightest of India," a top European Commission official said.

The European Union (EU) authorities are also working hard to address visa problems for Indian students wishing to study in Europe, he added.

The fair, to be held at the India Habitat Centre, will also include an Asia-Link Symposium, which will promote discussion on higher education cooperation between the 25-nation EU and India.

Besides New Delhi, a series of European Higher Education Fairs (EHEF), inspired by the success of the first such fair in Bangkok two years ago, will be held in Asia over the next two years in cities as diverse as Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Beijing, Hanoi, Vietnam, Manila, and Jakarta.

On behalf of the EU, the series is being implemented by a consortium of four academic exchange agencies, led by EduFrance (France) and involving DAAD (Germany), Nuffic (The Netherlands) and the British Council (UK).

Europe may be late in catching up with the lucrative higher education market in India, but it's surely trying to make up for all that lost time by offering new incentives and generous scholarship programmes.

The Erasmus Mundus programme, named after a peripatetic humanist visionary and a symbol of European enlightenment values, has been a big hit with Indian students.

This year, 319 students - the highest from any single country - qualified for the 21,000-euro scholarship programme. Overall, 1,377 students won the Erasmus scholarship this year.

Indian students are highly valued in European universities for their academic versatility and flair with English.

"Their ease with the English language is an added asset. Given the enthusiastic response from Indian students, a bigger window was created for India this year," an EU official said.

The EU spends 33 million euro on the programme, which was created to raise the attractiveness of European higher education in Asia and elsewhere.

The Erasmus programme, modelled on the Fulbright programme, was launched in 2004 and interlinks over 200 European universities.

Under this programme, students from third countries come to study in the EU to pursue Masters courses at various European universities over two years.

"Mostly, Indian students opt for engineering courses. Liberal arts courses are also quite popular," a EU official said.

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