Over the past few years, India and France have collaborated extensively in the academic space. Consequently, the French and Indian student community have benefitted massively from the growing academic partnership between the two countries.
Ushering a new era of academic cooperation
Both India and France boast of a supreme educational legacy. Thus, the two countries have been paving way for increased educational exchange and mobility of professionals. This cooperation dates back to a decade ago, when the establishment of the Indo-French Consortium of Universities was announced to promote projects of joint research and enhance cooperation at the Masters’ degree level. High on the priority list of this consortium was the Cyber University. As many as 21 agreements were also signed between India and France in the field of education. Prominent among these was the University of Delhi signing two MoUs with French universities to boost student and faculty exchanges.
Having recognised the potential of the shared partnership on the academic front, a France based university, Sciences Po, signed MoUs with several prestigious Indian universities, that included the likes of Jawahar Lal Nehru University, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Xavier’s College, National Law School of India and other celebrated institutes in India.
More recently, the signing of an agreement between India and France on “mutual recognition of educational qualifications” has been another positive step in this direction. In fact, India’s Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar termed the inking of this agreement as “historic”. He added that it was for the “first time” that “a government to government MoU had been signed “for mutual recognition of educational qualifications”.
On its part, the Indian government has taken several initiatives to encourage the Indian student community in France. A key example of this is India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj address to the Indian students in France this year. On the landmark occasion, she also proposed a hostel called ‘India House’ run by an Indian origin person. The visit was also important in that it provided impetus to the India-France student exchange programme. Indicating the steady progress in the area of academic cooperation, the minister also pointed out that almost all the branches of the Indian Institute of Management (IIMs) have collaborated with French management institutes and French B-schools.
French language studies in India are taught at myriad schools and has gained popularity with students. This is indicative of the intent of Indian students to study in France and embrace its culture. With thousands of Indian students studying in France, which is also home to a strong expatriate Indian community, this cultural intermixing is only bound to grow with time.
Indian student community in France
In 2017, nearly 5000 students pursued their education in France, which is considered a hotspot for courses in arts, literature, science and technology etc. France, however, has set its sights on doubling up this number by 2019-2020 to 10,000. Given the number of educational incentives for Indian students in France, this looks like an achievable goal.
Contrary to perception, language does not pose a challenge to Indian students in France as they can choose to study in English or French medium of institutes in Indian cities itself. Just like their French counterpart students, Indian students who choose French as their preferred language of study enjoy the benefit of free tuition. Therefore, they only have to incur expenditure on food, boarding and lodging. Additionally, the Indian students have the advantage of the stayback option upon the completion of their postgraduate degrees. Once they return to India, they have plenty of job opportunities available to them in French-owned companies, such as Capegemini. What makes France a lucrative destination for education is the ease of applying to French universities. The admission process has been made much easier with Campus France setting up 11 offices in India, where aspirants are offered free counselling and provided support on admission procedures.
With the trajectory of academic ties between India and France following an upward trend, the future certainly looks promising for the academia.
Science- one of the most favoured areas of India-France collaboration
- Joint research unit, RELAX (Research Lab in Computer Science), uniting teams from Bordeaux and Chennai
- Priyanka Das from Assam, working on satellite navigation in France, appointed as ambassador in France to inspire girls to take up careers in science
- Institut Français de Pondichéry (IFP) is the oldest research center in India. IFP considered piece of Indian heritage as it houses a collection of more than 85,000 palm leaf manuscript, most of them in Sanskrit language