The Indian Institute of Technology-Kanpur and the Indian Institute of Management- Kozhikhode on Thursday entered into a partnership with the Yale University for academic leadership development programmes. Under the programme, vice- chancellors and deans will be introduced to best practices of institutional management in the United States.

The partnership is part of the knowledge initiative launched by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and U.S. President Barack Obama during Mr. Singh's visit to the U.S. in November 2009.

It aimed at advancing the cause of higher education in the country and “addressing the problem of leadership vacuum” in the sector, Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal said after president of Yale University Richard Levin, Director of IIM-Kozhikode Debashis Chatterjee and Director of IIT-Kanpur Sanjay Dhande signed a memorandum of understanding.

The partnership will take effect from January next, with provision for two new centres of excellence in academic leadership at IIM-Kozhikode and IIT-Kanpur. The partnership will begin with a term of five years.

Mr. Sibal said that a six member committee, with equal participation from the three partnering institutes, would determine the norms and qualifications for participation in the leadership programmes. The first programme would take place in 2011 in New Haven, Connecticut.

Dr. Levin, longest serving president of the Yale University with his tenure spanning 19 years, said the programme, in the initial phase, would be launched on a modest scale and would train 30 to 40 vice-chancellors on their campus.

Yale was also closely working with China on a similar partnership programme.

Dr. Levin praised the government's efforts in introducing the Foreign Universities Bill. He, however, noted that Yale had no plans to set up a campus in India. He supported efforts for bringing in reforms in the higher education sector.

Dr. Levin felt allowing foreign institutes to operate in India would ultimately benefit students.

Mr. Sibal expressed his confidence that the country would certainly attract top class universities, if not global brands such as Yale and Harvard.