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Indian students to get EU scholarships

Over 300 will pursue Masters courses in Europe as part of EU's Erasmus Mundus programme launched two years ago.

india Updated: Jun 17, 2006 17:19 IST

Over 300 students from India have been selected by the European Union for scholarships to pursue Masters courses in Europe for the year 2006-07 as part of its Erasmus Mundus programme.

The list of 319 Indian students was announced on Friday.

Launched in 2004, Erasmus Mundus is an EU initiative dedicated to students from third countries who come to study in the EU to pursue Masters courses at various European universities over two years. The courses range from engineering and sciences to law and the humanities.

Over 100 former graduates gathered in Brussels on Friday for a two-day seminar to launch the Erasmus Mundus Alumni Association.

Swaroop Kher from Ratnagiri in Maharashtra is pursuing a degree in agriculture at the University of Gent in Belgium and hopes to join an international NGO. For the next academic year he will visit Italy, Slovakia and Germany.

Kher told INEP agency: "If you want to have a degree in agriculture you don't have much funding. I am specialising in rural development and there aren't many programmes like mine available in the US."

Vishal Murani, a graduate from IIT Delhi, is studying nanotechnology in Dresden, Germany, and will complete his next year in the Netherlands. He said: "I had the option to go to the US but took the road less travelled. This programme has basically opened the roads for quality students from India to study in Europe."

Murani noted that application procedures for Erasmus Mundus were more flexible and easier than requirements by international universities in the US and Britain.

Referring to the need for Indian and international talent in Europe, EU Commissioner for Education Jan Figel said: "We intend to propose continuity. We are in the middle of the programme right now. In India we could focus more on education via linking education to external dimensions of our cooperation. It is a question of mutual interest. Volumes of students from India will be growing".

The European Commission, the EU's executive, has selected 1,377 students and 231 university teachers to participate in 57 high calibre masters degrees for 2006-07.

The candidates will benefit from scholarships worth 52 million euro. As many as 742 of these students were selected from 92 countries under the general Erasmus Mundus programme, including 31 students from India alone.

Other top ranking countries were the US, China, Brazil, Mexico, Russia and Malaysia.

As many as 288 additional Indian students formed the majority of the remaining 636 candidates that were chosen for scholarships under the Asia-targeted Erasmus Mundus 'Asian Windows' programme. Twelve of the selected 231 scholars are Indian teachers. The rest hail from China, US, Russia, Canada and Brazil.

Figel said: "Europe's universities are now attracting more of the world's best graduate students and teachers. When Europe's universities benefit, the EU economy benefits too, as does our dialogue with other cultures".

Erasmus Mundus university teachers spend up to three months in Europe working for one of the masters courses, thus strengthening ties between universities worldwide.