The cooperation between China and India in education is of strategic importance in the context of the two countries being the main powerhouses for the growth of Asia, and the source of power coming from young generations vested with quality education, said Zhang Yan, Chinese Ambassador to India.
Inaugurating the silver jubilee celebrations of the VIT University and an international summit on ‘Global Trends in Higher Education and Challenges’ organised in connection with the celebrations on the VIT campus here on Saturday, Mr. Zhang said if this century would be the Asian century, China and India were surely the powerhouses for the growth. China attached great importance to cooperation in education with India. Currently there were about 4,000 Indian students studying in China, and about 1,200 Chinese students in India. To encourage academic exchanges, the Chinese government provided dozens of scholarships in various disciplines to Indian students every year. “Economic cooperation often goes hand in hand with cultural and educational interactions. With further growth of the economic cooperation, we are expecting steady expansion in educational cooperation between our two countries in future. Such cooperation will foster much goodwill and better understanding between our peoples and promote economic cooperation as well,” he said.
The Chinese Ambassador said 25 years ago, G. Viswanathan, Chancellor of the VIT University and a visionary founder, together with his capable colleagues, laid down the foundation for the VIT University with the aim of providing quality higher education with international standards to youth. With the laudable efforts taken by him, the institution had already become one of the top premier educational institutions in India, and had been academically accredited worldwide. Within a short span of 25 years, the VIT University had not only consolidated its status in Indian education, but also established extensive cooperation with many universities abroad. More than 10 Chinese institutions had established exchange programmes and cooperative projects with the VIT University, Mr. Zhang said.
Mr. Viswanathan said the Vellore Engineering College (the former name for the VIT) was started as a self-financing engineering college in 1984 in response to the request of the then Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, M.G. Ramachandran. MGR made the request as the government was not in a position to grant Mr. Viswanathan’s request for starting a government engineering college in Vellore owing to paucity of funds. Mr. Viswanathan acknowledged the support of T. Kumaraguru and A.M.K. Jambulingam, two of the founding trustees of the North Arcot Education Society, which managed the college initially, in the establishment of the college. He also recalled the help of the government, which gave the land for setting up the college.
The Chancellor said VIT students could go and study in universities abroad under exchange programmes, but they could not study in the universities in Madurai or Coimbatore because of the absence of the fully flexible credit system (FFCS) in Indian universities.
The former Vice-Chancellor of the Madurai Kamaraj University, V.C. Kulandaiswamy, who inaugurated the FFCS in the VIT University, said a new chapter had been written in the history of higher education in India. There were 415 universities and 22,064 colleges and national institutes of importance but not one of them had introduced it. The former IAS officer, V. Selvaraj; Director, Automotive Research Association of India, Shrikant R. Marathe; Director, IIT-Madras, M.S. Ananth; and the former Vice-Chancellor of Anna University, A. Kalanidhi, spoke.
Mr. Jeppiar inaugurated a ‘Photo Exhibition’ on ‘VIT History.’ Director, Administration, VIT University, S. Narayanan, highlighted the history of the VIT. Pro-Chancellor Sekar Viswanathan welcomed the gathering. Pro-Vice-Chancellor Anand A. Samuel proposed a vote of thanks.