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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

France still a hot student destination


Pune Although firms abroad are struggling to fund scholarship for postgraduate programmes, students from India opting for higher studies abroad, France in particular, are on the rise.

Philippe Martinet, counsellor for culture and cooperation, Embassy of France, said the number of Indian students going to France for higher studies is expected to go up to 2,700 this year.

“The number of Indian students going to France went up by three times over the last three years. We hope the trend continues this year, too,” Martinet told The Indian Express while on an official visit to the city recently.

The ambitious Alten Scholarship Programme for postgraduate studies in engineering, announced during French President Nicholas Sarkozy’s India visit in January, 2008, has been put on hold this academic year as companies that were to sponsor the scholarships have expressed inability to finance them.

On the other hand, the figures revealed by the French Embassy in the first quarter of 2009, shows that the number of students going from India to France for higher studies has increased by 57 per cent as compared to the first quarter of 2008.

In 2008, 1,757 Indian students went to France as compared to 650 in 2005. The French Embassy has set a target of 4,000 by 2012. “We have 15,000 to 20,000 Chinese students in France. But we are now concentrating more on Indian students,” he said.

According to Martinet, almost 55 per cent of Indians who go to France for studies take up business management while 35 per cent opt for engineering. “We want more students for engineering programmes as quality of these programmes is excellent. We are also looking at more students going in for niche areas like design, film studies and new media,” he said.

He said companies were backing out from scholarship programmes owing to the economic downturn. “The Alten Scholarship is one of the casualties this year,” he said.

The Alten Scholarship is important for Pune as its India office was shifted to Pune from Delhi last year. Out of the 10 students from across the country who got the scholarship last year, three were from Pune. The head office of n+i network, a consortium of 75 French engineering colleges, is also in Pune as the quality of engineering students is said to be better in the city.

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University of Punewill be an important partner for French institutes in future, feels Philippe Martinet, counsellor for culture and cooperation in French Embassy
Martinet Says, “With the University of Pune's cooperation, we have been working on some flagship projects. UoP vice-chancellor Narendra Jadhav has excellent rapport with the academic experts in France and that will help in a big way”
In December, a French Festival with focus on Pune is being planned, Martinet says

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