Varanasi: Members of British High Commission and British Council on Tuesday interacted with the deans of faculties and directors of institutes of Banaras Hindu University to discuss key areas of collaboration between BHU and British educational institutions.
According to the BHU spokesperson, the members of the delegation comprised Richard Barlow, Head of Political & Bilateral Affairs, British High Commission, Ms. Katy Budge, Minister Counsellor, Political & Press, British High Commission, Rowan Kennedy, Deputy Director, British Council India and Ms. Vishu Sharma, Head, Higher Education, North India, British Council India. The BHU vice chancellor (acting), Prof. VK Shukla, chaired the session.
Conducting the discussion, Prof. HP Mathur, Chairman, International Centre and Dean, Faculty of Management Studies, said that currently BHU has 65 MoUs with institutions across the globe for collaboration in various areas. Among these, four MoUs are with British institutions in the areas of medicine, social sciences, humanities and natural sciences. He informed that there are more than 400 foreign students from 49 countries studying in different departments in BHU.
Prof. AK Tripathi, Director, Institute of Science, Prof. SK Singh, Dean, Faculty of Medicine, Prof. Ramesh Chand, Director, Institute of Agricultural Sciences and Prof. SK Dubey, Director, Institute of Management, gave presentations about their respective institutes and highlighted the strengths and possible areas of collaboration with UK institutions. Prof. RK Mall, Director, Institute of Environmental and Sustainable Development, gave a brief about the institute and key areas of research.
Rowan Kennedy, Deputy Director, British Council India, said that BHU has a very long history of collaborations with UK institutions. He elaborated on a new initiative launched by the council, Going Global Partnership Grant, aimed at India-UK partnerships for co-creation of joint programmes of study. He said that British Council looks forward to not only research collaborations but also for mobility. He said that a greater mobility of students and faculty members to study and work is enocuraged through various initiatives. He said that with the focus on internationalization of Higher Education in the National Education Policy 2020, new avenues are being opened for enhancing collaboration between Indian and British institutions.
Richard Barlow, Head of Political & Bilateral Affairs, British High Commission, said that Chevening Fellowship and Scholarship are very popular and successful programmes and there are a large number of students, researchers and professionals from India who have completed these programmes. He called upon researchers and faculty members of BHU to take the opportunities offered by British Council.
BHU VC Prof. VK Shukla laid thrust on furthering bilateral collaborations between BHU and UK institutions. He said that there are many areas where BHU has great strength and has a lot to offer, like hydrogen energy, climate Change, health and life sciences. He said that for collaborations in health and life sciences, there cannot be a better place than BHU as this great institution offers a large number of disciplines at one place, making it favourable for inter-disciplinary research, especially in the backdrop of a pandemic. He said that National Education Policy puts a greater focus on exchange programmes and other reformative measures. This makes it a golden opportunity for institutions as well as students and faculty members to enter into new collaborations and benefit mutually.