Education Briefs

Education Briefs

Indo-French education cooperation

French minister for higher education and research, Valerie Pecresse conferred France’s highest civilian award, the Legion of Honour on N.R. Narayana Murthy, chairman and chief mentor of the Bangalore-based Infosys Technologies Ltd, at a special function organised on January 25 by the 4,000-strong Indo-French Alumni Network to commemorate 25 years of partnership between IIM, Ahmedabad and ESSEC, France.

The occasion also marked the birth of an Indo-French consortium of universities. Dayanand Dongaonkar, secretary general of the Association of Indian Universities and Oliver Audeoud, president of CPU (Conference Des Presidents Des Universities) signed an MoU to this effect. As many as 21 agreements of bilateral cooperation and exchange programmes were signed between universities and institutions of the two countries on the day. Among the Indian institutions of higher education which have established linkages with French institutions are the universities of Delhi, Madras, Pune, Hyderabad, IIT-Delhi, MERI, IIT-Guwahati, BITS Ranchi, NSIT Delhi, Vellore Institute of Technology, XLRI, Jamshedpur and IMT, Ghaziabad.

"Now learning French is not a necessity and part-time jobs are permitted. We want to see more Indian students on our campuses and have already initiated grants and scholarships for them," said Pecresse, who accompanied President Nicholas Sarkozy to India on January 25-26, where he was chief guest at the Republic Day parade.

US summer option for gifted children

The US-based Summer Institute for the Gifted (SIG), an institution specialising in gifted education for children and teens, announced its co-ed summer programme in Hyderabad on January 15. Dr. Stephen L. Gessner, chief academic officer of the American Institute for Foreign Study (AIFS), informed the media that SIG has organised a three-week residential programme for international students hosted by several American universities. The programme is open to exceptionally talented children in classes IV-XI averaging over 90 percent. In addition, candidates must also score above 97 percent in standardised SIG tests to be accepted into this programme.

The objective of SIG is to provide "highest quality educational and social opportunities to academically gifted and talented students" through special short-term programmes designed to meet their needs and abilities.

Promoted in New Jersey, USA in 1984, the SIG programme has expanded over the past 23 years to include 11 residential sessions in seven states across the US. In 2007, it hosted over 2,000 academically gifted class IV-XI students and over the past 23 years SIG has organised educational and cultural exchanges for more than 50,000 students and young people around the world. Moreover an aggregate number of more than 1 million students and teachers have participated in AIFS programmes worldwide, said Dr. Gessner who was in the twin cities (Secunderabad and Hyderabad) to create awareness about the programme.

The fee for the three week programme, varies between $3,995-4,595 (Rs.1.60-1.80 lakh). For further details visit

Unique infrastructure management MBA

The School of Management for Infrastructure and Development Strategies (MINDS), Bangalore — an extension centre of the Visvesvaraya Technological University, Belgaum — invites applications for admission into its postgraduate diploma in infrastructure management (PGDIM) programme, upgradable to an MBA in infrastructure management.

This unique dual-option study programme offered by VTU, leads to a postgrad diploma in infrastructure management at the end of the first year, and MBA degree in infrastructure management at the end of the second. The programme has a 100 percent placement record and offers opportunities for paid internships attached to live infrastructure projects managed by market leader companies. Both the postgrad diploma and the MBA degree are awarded by VTU.

This programme is open to graduates in all branches of engineering and architecture as well as postgraduates in other disciplines, averaging above 50 percent. Selection is based on past academic performance, group discussion and interview. The last date for submission of applications is February 25.

For further information and application forms, see or write to or call 080 2273 4524/ 2553 3615/ 6531 2810.

Search for Indian Climate Champions 2008

British Council (India) has launched the Indian climate Champion 2008 competition to select 20 young Indians as ambassadors for mitigating the harmful effects of climate change. Three young champions out of the 20 will be selected to represent India in the International Climate Champions 2008 meetings in London and Kobe, Japan. In Kobe, environment ministers from the G8 + 5 countries are scheduled to discuss climate change this summer.

Youth aged between 16-18 are eligible to enter the competition. They should submit their completed application forms to the nearest regional office of the British Council together with the following:

• A paragraph (300 words) about self, effect of climate changes he/she might have been exposed to and why she believes she should be chosen the Indian Climate Champion 2008.

• A news report (800 words) about climate change issues in India. The report must be an original work of the entrant and presented in the form or style of the front page of a newspaper. The last date to submit entries is February 4. For further information and to apply visit

The selected 20 Indian Climate Champions will receive a citation and prizes from the British Council. The prizes include a collection of books, DVDs and a weekend Climate Camp. At the camp, the champions will have an opportunity to interact with scientists and communication specialists, and receive training on climate communications planning and presentation. Three International Climate Champions selected from this group will represent India in London and Japan on March 24-30 and May 18-26, 2008, respectively. All travel and accommodation expenses will be met by the council.

CIE’s sesquicentennial book release

The University of Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) aka Cambridge Assessment, flagged off its 150th anniversary celebrations in India with the publication of a collection of essays by 11 Indian teachers under the title Reflections on Teaching, Today and Tomorrow, on January 3. This textbook for CIE certified teachers and trainers in India was released by Prof. Alison Richard, vice-chancellor of the University of Cambridge in the presence of Dr. Ashok Ganguly, chairman of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and CIE’s Cambridge-based chief executive Ann Puntis (and the authors) at a news conference in Delhi.

"Teaching is a wonderful profession and we must understand that education doesn’t stop at university level; rather it is a life-long experience and we at Cambridge have joined education and research as a single purposeful activity for continuity in education. Our commitment to high quality remains as partnerships across the world increase," said Prof. Richard speaking on the occasion.

"We wanted to provide an opportunity for innovative teachers developing active learning in a variety of local contexts to share their practical ideas and experience, and to encourage their colleagues in India and worldwide," added Dr. Paul Beedle, the book’s co-editor and CIE’s professional development manager.

The teacher authors were also commended by Dr. Ganguly. "CBSE is eager to forge assessment and teacher development partnerships," said Ganguly.