The Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar has collaborated with Indians living abroad, that includes Non-Resident Indians (NRIs), Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) and global professionals, to advance Indian educational standards at a global level. The Institute hosted ‘Overseas Indian Higher Education Conclave’ from February 22nd and 23rd, 2019.
The Conclave was conducted to engage with Indian professional NRI’s and PIO’s. The conclave appreciated NRI’s contribution to the challenges and opportunities for partnerships.
The First day of the conclave involved discussions related to contributions made by the Indians overseas towards Indian Education through various sessions including ‘Models for Global Partnerships: Examples and Experiences’, ‘Facilitating Global Student and Faculty Exchanges’, ‘Global Fundraising: Opportunities and Challenges,’ and ‘Leveraging Overseas Indians in Fundraising and Institutional Development.’
Addressing the audience, speaking of the need of the conclave conducted, Prof. Sudhir K. Jain, Director, IIT Gandhinagar, said, “A large number of professional NRIs and PIOs are an incredibly valuable resource that Indian educational institutions can tap for their academic and institutional advancement. Several overseas Indians serve as Visiting Faculty, Scholars in Residence or industry associates at IITGN. Many others volunteer their time and effort in fundraising or expanding out the overseas network.”
It has been reported that over 40% of the undergraduates and 75% of Ph.D. students receive opportunities to study abroad which is the highest even more than the average received in U.S. Universities. It was also found that over 10-15% of the faculty staff is Visiting faculty from India and abroad.
Addressing the conclave, Prof Nitish Thakor, Professor of Electrical, Computer Engineering and Biomedical Engineering, Johns Hopkins University, U.S., said, “Science and Technology have become a global enterprise. No longer are there small pockets of excellence, for example as the USA used to be. So, now modern education (and research) should also be a global, and collaborative enterprise, complementing mutual strengths, talents, and specializations.”
Dr. Jamshed Bharucha, Former President Emeritus of Cooper Union, New York, and Vice Chancellor, SRM University, Amaravati, Andhra Pradesh, said, “Global exchanges are critical because Indian higher education needs radical reform. First, while India has tremendous intellectual talent, the systems of education tend to stifle imagination, creativity, originality, innovation, and risk-taking. Second, while Indian higher education is good at deep dives into traditional academic disciplines, the most important emerging areas of knowledge are not within traditional academic disciplines, but rather at cross-disciplinary intersections.”
Mr. Samir Desai, Founder, and CFO, The Desai Foundation, U.S., said, “Overseas Indians can emulate social programs such as those between The Desai Foundation and IITGN to uplift rural women and children. Participating students are learning to become future social leaders and teamwork. It’s a great way to contribute to education and do good.”
Ever since its establishment in 2008, the Institute has witnessed immense support from overseas Indians who are proud to contribute to the development of education in the country. NRI’s have been quite supportive in contributing to various IITG programs that include faculty chairs, fellowships, scholarships, and interdisciplinary centers.
A California based NRI Mr. Navin Doshi recently launched a Chair on water and sanitation at IITGN and last month, Dr. Kiran C Patel, a renowned cardiologist, and philanthropist based in Tampa, Florida, established the Dr. Kiran C Patel Centre for Sustainable Development at IITGN.