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UK business college to have campus in J&K

An affiliate of British business college Wigan & Leigh College (WLC) is set to offer vocational courses in the Valley.

india Updated: May 30, 2006 09:11 IST

An affiliate of British business college Wigan & Leigh College (WLC) is set to offer vocational courses in Jammu and Kashmir as part of its expansion plans.

"Our expansion plans will see three more campuses going on stream this year, in Srinagar, Jaipur and Goa. Next year we are planning $50 million investment to go overseas, starting with China, where we plan to open 10 campuses, and follow up with centres in the Middle East," Vinay Pasricha, chairman of Wigan & Leigh College in India, said.

Also the agenda of the Rs 300-million-turnover Indian institution includes opening of centres in African countries like Kenya and Nigeria.

"We are for the first time opening a campus in Srinagar to offer education of international standard to the youth. This will be the first business school in the Valley," said Pasricha, who has lived and studied in Kashmir.

Offering two and three year certificate, diploma and degree courses in areas like media, advertisement, graphic design, fashion technology and international business, the Indian college has its courses designed on the lines of the Britain's Wigan & Leigh College.

While lending its name, the British college also monitors the teaching and other faculty activities of its affiliate colleges in 26 countries with around 55,000 students worldwide.

The plan to start a campus in Kashmir this year was prompted by the support of 60 of the 500-member teaching faculty of the Indian college who showed willingness to stay in the Valley for three weeks in groups of three to conduct classes.

"The enthusiasm of the teaching staff helped us to firm plans to start the campus with the new academic session in August," said Pasricha.

"For Srinagar students the course fee has been halved at Rs 80,000 per annum, besides scholarship for 50 per cent of the students. As an added incentive, the college plans to allow the valley students wanting to study in any of the other campuses to do so at the same fee," he added.

Pasricha said the plan to expand operations to the Middle East had been influenced by the fact that the institute was receiving a sizeable number of students from the Gulf region.

"As many as 50 per cent of the students from the Middle East are in fact Arab nationals while the remaining are children of expatriates. Of around 3,000 students who join our courses annually, many are from Africa, Malaysia and Indonesia, and last year we also got some from Japan," he said.

"We have been invited by the governments of Kuwait and Bahrain to set up campuses there to cater to the need of more vocational training courses. We expect 70 per cent of our students in the Middle East to be girls as the governments there are keen to promote education and employment opportunity for them," said the college chairman.

According to Pasricha, with the institute enjoying support from the industry, placements for internship and employment opportunities will not be an issue.

Two to three years ahead, the institute is planning to go in for a public offering to fund its expansion plans, the official said.