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The MHRD said that the GIAN programme offers a basis and a platform for a long-term cooperation.
The MHRD said that the GIAN programme offers a basis and a platform for a long-term cooperation.

India launches academic network to internationalize campuses

As part of the Global Initiative of Academic Networks, faculty from 38 countries are scheduled to deliver courses

New Delhi: India on Monday launched an academic network to try and pull in foreign faculty to teach and conduct research in top Indian institutions, a move that can potentially address a faculty shortage in these institutions and boost efforts to give Indian campuses a global dimension.

As part of the Global Initiative of Academic Networks (GIAN), faculty from 38 countries are scheduled to deliver courses. They include 46 academics from the US, 9 from the UK, and 6 each from Germany and Australia, the human resources development ministry said after minister Smriti Irani launched the programme at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Gandhinagar.

Over the next few months, academicians from countries like Russia, Japan, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, Portugal, the Netherlands, Malaysia and South Korea will come to teach and do research in Indian institutions.

“This remarkable array of academicians will span 13 disciplines and 352 courses to be taught in 68 national institutions," the ministry said in a statement.

“In the weeks and months to come, the academic interface will enlarge, and increasingly enable international academic collaboration. Most importantly, the GIAN programme offers a basis and a platform for a long-term cooperation," the ministry added.

Leading Indian institutions like IITs and central universities are facing a teacher shortage in the range of 20-45% and internationalization continues to be a weak spot for these institutions.

The courses vary in duration from one to three weeks depending on the subject. They are free for students from the host institution, charged at nominal rates for others and webcast live as well.

According to the ministry, a lump-sum of up to $8,000 for 12 to 14 hours of contact and up to $12,000 for 20 to 28 hours of contact can be paid to the foreign experts, covering their travel and honorarium.

On Monday, two courses—one at IIT Gandhinagar and the other at IIT Kharagpur—set the ball rolling. Two eminent academicians began their courses. One was on 3D Digitization for Cultural Heritage by Marco Callieri, professor at the visual computing lab in the Institute of the National Research Council of Italy, at IIT Gandhinagar. The second course at IIT Kharagpur by Nico Verdonschot, a professor of the Radboud University Medical Center Nijmegen, the Netherlands, was on orthopaedic biomechanics: implants and biomaterials.

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