India, Germany plan joint vocational university

New Delhi, April 16 (IANS) India and Germany are planning to set up a jointly funded, central vocational university that will provide employment-oriented training to youth.

"We are looking at some jointly funded projects. We are looking at a couple of possibilities and one possibility is of setting up a central vocational university," Indian Ambassador to Germany Sujatha Singh told IANS.

She said the matter was under discussion and both sides were hopeful of finalising it soon. The university is likely to be based in one of the major cities of India and will provide technical education.

"It is in the process of discussion. We hope that we can make some good progress on this over the next few months and bring it to fruition," Singh told this correspondent in Berlin who had travelled with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last week.

India and Germany last week signed two agreements to strengthen cooperation in education and research.

Under one pact, the two countries agreed to launch a jointly funded initiative called "Indo-German strategic partnerships in higher education."

Both the countries have pledged 3.5 million euro ($4.48 million) each for an initial programme period of four years. The programme will focus on establishing joint research projects that will include joint supervision as well as student and academic exchanges.

The Indian envoy said that apart from the inter-governmental cooperation, India and Germany were also encouraging their private firms to enhance engagements in the field of education and vocational training.

"You have to have a partnership between the government, universities or technical schools and businesses," she said.

Singh said Indian businesses should promote and support vocational education and training in line with their German counterparts.

"A fundamental feature of the German education model is the involvement of industry in training and internship process. We want our industry to come forward and do the same," she said.

India and Germany share a strong historical cooperation in education and research. Already there are more than 250 collaborations between Indian universities and institutions and German institutions.

The prestigious Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Madras was established with German assistance in 1959. Germany is also helping in setting up the IIT campus in Mandi, Himachal Pradesh.

(Gyanendra Kumar Keshri can be contacted at gyanendra.k@ians.in)

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