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Erasmus Mundus scholarship program, 73 Indian students to study abroad

Erasmus Mundus– India is making giant strides at the rank list of Erasmus Mundus scholarship program. From receiving a mere five student scholarships in 2004 to 31 in 2008, the numbers have not declined below 60 since 2014, according to an HT report. The Erasmus Mundus program for postgraduate study seeks to help European Union institutes of higher learning expand their reach, by offering grants to students from 128 countries across the world, noted the report. This year, India logged a 15% increase over the year before in the number of students getting the scholarships, citing the panel supervising the Erasmus Mundus program, the report pointed out.

The total was 73, the highest tally since the programme’s inception 14 years ago. In 2017, the country came in at second place on the list of largest beneficiaries. While Brazil topped that list, with 79 scholarships, India followed with 63; Iran came in third with 59, Bangladesh fourth with 58 and Mexico rounded off the top 5, with 49, said the report.  Since 2004, EU scholarships (including Jean Monnet, Marie Curie PhD programme, Erasmus + and Horizon 2020) have been given out to 5,700 Indian students. “In the last five years, as per our records, over 1,500 Indian students have benefitted,” Pavan Sriram, global head and president of Erasmus Mundus scholarships, was quoted as saying by the report.

Branching Out

Erasmus Mundus and its associated programmes such as Horizon 2020, Erasmus+ and Jean Monnet don’t only benefit students but also support universities and professors partnering with them for study programmes, says the report. For instance, the Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE) has become a Centre of Excellence for Jean Monnet scholarship programmes. “This means the institution will guide other institutes and work with them in building the association with European universities so that students aspiring to study in Europe will face fewer barriers and checks,” Neeta Inamdar, head of the department of European Studies at MAHE, tells the daily.

In exchange, this year, MAHE will launch a Centre of Excellence in European Studies that will focus on India-EU interdisciplinary studies centred on culture, literature, education and society. “MAHE has received grants worth Rs 15 crore from the EU, facilitating quality learning and research experience,” Inamdar says.

The Department of European Studies at Manipal Academy of Higher Education also offers masters programme in European studies. The two-year course has the first year of studies in Manipal and an option of the second year at a partner university in Europe either with a scholarship or complete fee waiver. The program offers three specialisation tracks — European business and economics; European politics and international relations; and European culture and society. “The programme also focuses on providing an opportunity for students to learn at least one European language in their journey to Europe,” says Inamdar.

Similarly, over 300 Indian institutes of higher education have become members of the Erasmus+ programme since 2014, and there is interest in further expanding education collaborations, Tomasz Kozlowski, ambassador for the European Union to India, said in a statement released in August — including the Jawaharlal Nehru University, IIT-Madras and Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai. The ties are expanding to include smaller institutes too, such as the Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology in Odisha, Chitkara University in Punjab and the World University of Design in Haryana.

Dhiraj Mathur, leader of national education practices at PricewaterhouseCoopers, tells HT that the reach of such programmes should not be limited to premier universities. “Given the hardworking nature of Indians, many students bagging the scholarships are not surprising. However, the reach and awareness should be expanded.”

Image source:Marvin Meyer

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