Dubai: On the 76th Indian Independence Day on Monday, the University of Dubai (UD) announced the launch of a programme for exchanging students and faculty and for research collaborations with top tier Indian educational institutions including IITs (Indian Institute of Technology), IIMs (Indian Institute of Management) and autonomous universities.
It is the first such programme by any university in the UAE. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in this regard was signed in Dubai with IIT Madras and Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT) in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu.
President of UD Dr Eesa Bastaki and provost and chief academic officer, Prof Hussain Al Ahmad, signed the agreements with the top officials of the Indian institutions who were present virtually.
The signing ceremony took place in the presence of the Consul General of India in Dubai Dr Aman Puri and leading Indian businessmen and senior community members.
According to Dr Bastaki, the agreement will facilitate the exchange of students and faculty, research collaborations and knowledge sharing.
“This will add value to the university and to the country,” he told Gulf News after the signing ceremony.
As per the agreement, he said, student exchanges can be done for one or two semesters. “Our students can go there or their students can come here to do the same programmes for one semester or a maximum of two semesters.”
Established in 1997, UD has developed international agreements with many academic centres and local and international universities. Dr Bastaki said the plan is to have more collaborations with more IITs and IIMs in India. “In future, once these programmes mature, we are also looking at expanding the 2 plus 2 year programme that we currently have with University of Louisville (UofL) to the Indian institutions as well.”
Under the 2 plus 2 year programme, students can study for two years in UD and two years in (UofL) and get double degrees, he explained.
Dr Arun Prasad, director, Centre for Business Research and Consulting at UD, said students can join the exchange programmes in various streams such as space technology, electrical engineering, cybersecurity, management studies and law. “We will have exchange programmes for bachelor’s and master’s degrees and PhD.”
Appreciating UD for launching the programme on India’s landmark Independence Day, Dr Puri said “this historic partnership will fuel continued collaboration between the UAE and India and bring forward new opportunities for mutual growth and innovations.”
“It is a step in the direction of further deepening and strengthening the academic relationship between the two countries as the UAE and India are going from strength to strength in every sector. With the signing of the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, we see that there’s been a lot of emphasis on how to take the trade and investment relationship to the next level. So, within that framework, we also see that the relationships between academic institutions have to grow. It is also important for the next generation of the UAE and India to work together to co-create innovation, to work on start-ups and to address the common challenges being faced by humanity.”
Under CEPA and the Vision Document, India had also announced to establish the first ever overseas IIT in the UAE.
Present at the signing ceremony were M.A. Yusuffali, chairman and managing director of Lulu Group, Dr Ram Buxani, chairman of ITL Cosmos Group, Paras Shahadapuri, chairman of Nikai Group, Sudhir Kumar, senior partner and head-Corporate Communications, Kreston Menon, insurance entrepreneur and coin collector Ram Tolani and famous Indian photographer Ramesh Shukla.