Technical issues delay launch of BRICS university

BRICS will be unable to launch its showpiece university in 2016 as foundational issues are yet to be resolved, highly placed diplomatic sources have told The Hindu.

BRICS Network University (BRICS-NU) was first mooted in March 2015 and was scheduled to be launched in 2016. But the member countries — Russia, China, India, Brazil and South Africa — are yet to find common modalities for the unique venture.

“Several technical issues like curriculum, language differences among the students of member countries and nature of infrastructure are yet to be resolved. These issues are likely to be taken up by the education ministers of the member-countries of BRICS during the upcoming summit in Goa,” said a senior diplomatic source.

A major issue among the members is the nature of the university itself, with some sections insisting that it should be a “virtual” facility providing distance education and training.

Prof. Anuradha Chenoy of the JNU, who has been part of a panel that drafted a ‘concept note’ about the university for the Indian government, said the project requires fresh commitment of funds. “As of now it is only a virtual project and the plan has not matured beyond the concept level.”

However, Maxim Khomyakov, Vice-Rector for International Relations at the Ural Federal University, the nodal university for the project in Russia, said that the university requires a physical infrastructure. “BRICS-NU is not a virtual project. It’s a network initiative that presupposes real participation of 54 universities with all the resources (lecturers, materials, campus facilities). Within the frames of the BRICS-NU activities, it is planned to develop and launch completely new graduate programmes in six priority areas,” Mr. Khomyakov told The Hindu in an email.

Apart from the differences over study and sharing of curriculum across political cultures of member-countries, a major issue is the lengthy consultation process. An India-based Brazilian diplomatic source said both India and Brazil spent a long time in the consultation process.

Mr. Khomyakov said the launch is now scheduled for September 2017.

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Printable version | Oct 25, 2021 8:08:12 PM |

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