West Bengal in favor of foreign universities moving to the state: Bratya Basu

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West Bengal Minister Bratya Basu said the government is in favor of foreign tertiary institutions with good academic standing establishing their bases in the state, but “the ball is in the court of the Center”. Basu, the state education minister, was addressing reporters during a program – West Bengal Roundtable on Higher Education – on Thursday evening. He spoke with representatives of six higher education institutions in the UK, who expressed interest in establishing their bases in the state.

“Through this roundtable, I invite UK institutes to partner with us in accelerating two-way faculty and student mobility, dual programs, establishment of campuses in West Bengal and strengthening our joint research in areas of mutual interest,” the minister said.

Responding to a question, Basu later told reporters that “when it comes to establishing bases of reputable British higher education institutes in the city and elsewhere, the ball is in the Centre’s court. If the Union government gives the go-ahead, the state can facilitate the process by extending all assistance as a partner. West Bengal is an important hub for education and home to a number of nationally significant institutes for academics as well as research,” he said.

This year’s Bengal Global Business Summit showcased education as a key sector for job creation and the establishment of quality international research institutes so that Bengal can function as a hub for all countries in the world. East, Northeast and ASEAN, the minister said.

He pointed out that 22 MoUs were signed between public and private universities in Bengal during the business summit on various topics ranging from academic exchanges to research. Representatives from the Universities of East London, Kent and Leeds, Royal Holloway College were among those present at the round table organized by the British Council.

Officials from two bodies such as Universities UK International and Department for International Trade were also part of the delegation which met senior officials, policy makers and representatives of top universities. Officials from IIEST Shibpur, IISER Kolkata, Indian Institute of Statistics, University of Calcutta, University of Jadavpur and several other institutes participated in the event. Meanwhile, a 10-member committee formed by the West Bengal government to assess the need for a state-level education policy will submit its report by June 30, a senior official said on Thursday.

“The committee was supposed to submit its recommendations in 88 days. So we are confident to get the same by June 30,” he said. Internationally renowned scholar Gayatri Chakraborty Spivak, Vice Chancellor of Jadavpur University and eminent historian, Professor Suranjan Das, Professor Sugata Bose of Harvard University are among the members of the panel formed by the government the first week of April. On another question, if the state is exchanging notes on National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 with other states like Maharashtra and Kerala, the senior official said the committee members are already in this work .

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