In the past one year, Panjab University has signed about 10 memoranda of understanding (MoU) with foreign universities, exploring opportunities in student exchange programmes, research and faculty exchange visits. However, there is nothing to show in terms of results, making it nearly a fruitless exercise.
Not a single delegation of students or faculty has visited a foreign varsity all these years despite having agreements for the same. However, foreign students do visit the PU, most recent was a delegation of faculty and students from Western Sydney.
As per experts, MoUs are signed mainly to impress the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) for a better ranking or grade. Since 1999, Panjab University has signed 51 such syndicate-approved pacts with foreign varsities (see box). Some of the varsities are non-descript and least to offer.
Pacts are signed and no attempts are made thereafter to implement the agreements.
On April 28, 2016, the European Union (EU) had evinced interest for increasing research and academic cooperation and exploring opportunities for international collaboration with Panjab University (PU). The European Union had even offered to help the PU students of all the subjects. The delegation had come from institutes of France, Germany, Norway, Denmark, Switzerland and other Europian countries.
On March 16, 2016 PU and Antioch University, Seattle (USA), had signed a MoU for mutual cooperation in the areas of training, education and research, and on April 8, 2016, PU signed a pact with University of Wuerzburg, Germany, for student exchange and collaborative research in the subjects of economics and political science.
However, the MoUs also mention that the financing for the activities shall depend on the availability of funds.
The varsity has also signed pacts with University of Waterloo and Western Sydney University in the recent past.
PU vice-chancellor Prof Arun Kumar Grover said, “It is presumptuous to conclude that there is no implementation. Academic exchanges are on; these things take time to get translated into visible research output.”
Prof Deepti Gupta, dean international students, Panjab University, said they were in the process of setting up an entrepreneurship cell on the campus. “We are working out a plan to send out students and faculty to Western Sydney whose faculty and students also visited us recently and stayed on the campus for two days. They have sent us an invitation to send our engineering students to visit their campus in June or July this year. We do not know how are we going to manage with funds but we are trying our best.”
Some pacts PU inked with foreign varsities
Panjab University syndicate and senate have approved memoranda of understanding with 51 foreign universities since 1999.
Nottingham Trent University (2015)
Birmingham University (2015)
National Institute of IST, Japan (2015)
Fayetteville State University, USA (2015)
University of Nottingham (2015)
University of Western Sydney (2014)
University of Fraser Valley, Canada(2012)
Fancy Barristers Professional Corporation, Canada & New York Law School (2009)
Pokhara University, Nepal (2009)
Universite Paris Dau-phine, France (2005)
University College of Fraser Valley (2004)
Simon Fraser University (2004)
University of Hiro-shima, Japan (2000)
University of Manitoba, Canada (1999)