‘British universities may prefer academic tie-up'

: Universities in the U.K. may prefer to establish academic collaborations with their Indian counterparts before considering setting up of campuses in the country, Deputy High Commissioner at the British Deputy High Commission, Chennai, Mike Nithavrianakis said.

He was talking to The Hindu at the office of the Kerala Council of Historical Research (KCHR) here on Wednesday. Mr. Nithavrianakis, who is in Kerala on a private visit, held discussions with P.J. Cherian, director of the KCHR, on the Council's initiatives, including the archaeological excavations at Pattanam.

As a result of such collaborative ventures, students from Britain may do part of their undergraduate or postgraduate study in educational institutions in India. Also, institutions in both countries may start offering ‘shared doctoral degrees,' he said. For such initiatives, the universities need not wait for the passing of the foreign educational service providers bill, he pointed out.

The British Minister for Universities is scheduled to visit India in November with a delegation of Vice-Chancellors. The delegation is likely to visit institutions of interest. If academic institutions in both countries express willingness to institute collaborative ventures, the British government would only be glad to facilitate the same.

Mr. Nithavrianakis said he was excited about the possibility of developments on the education and research front, particularly after the recent visit of the British Prime Minister to India. “One of my main roles is to encourage collaborations between British universities and centres of excellence in India,” he explained. Even though it cannot said at the moment whether the KCHR would be a beneficiary of such developments, the Pattanam excavation is the kind of project which Britain would like to assist. Some British institutions are already giving funds to the Pattanam project and there appears to be scope for more collaboration, he said.

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