A cross-cultural learning experience can be transformative and is imperative in this globalised world. Studying abroad should with time become an egalitarian process, not just for a select few.
Last month, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs of France, Catherine Colonna, addressing the students of Shri Ram College for Women, stressed the importance of people-to-people ties for the future of the Indo-French partnership. Listing opportunities for India-France mobility in a bid to woo Indian students to study in France, Colonna revealed the French government’s target of increasing the number of Indian students in the country to 20,000 by 2025 and asserted that no stone will be left unturned.
In pursuance of the objective, Choose France Tour 2022 is being organised in four metropolitan cities, offering students various prospects for pursuing advanced studies at world-class French universities. Students will have the option to avail of scholarships.
An initiative of Institut Français en Inde (French Institute in India), the educational, cultural, and scientific wing of the Embassy of France in India, in collaboration with Campus France, a French government agency that counsels international students seeking to pursue higher studies in the country will provide an opportunity for academicians to explore potential collaboration. Representatives of 37 leading universities, Grandes Ecoles, and colleges will provide information to interested students about the options available in management, engineering, hospitality, humanities, arts, architecture, design and other fields.
“Choose France Tour 2022 will bring together the amazing academic talent of Indian students, and France’s world-class institutes of learning,” said Emmanuel Lenain, Ambassador of France to India.
The Choose France Tour 2022 was held in Bengaluru after Kochi and Mumbai. Delhi would follow in the next few days. Hundreds of students participated from more than a dozen colleges in the day-long event held at Taj West End, Bengaluru despite the heavy downpour.
To attract Indian students, the French are ready to teach in English, something that was improbable a few years ago.
Consul General of France in Bangalore, Thierry Berthelot, said that there are more than 1,700 programmes taught in English across France. “Language is not a barrier anymore to study in France,” he asserted.
Dr Francois-Xavier Mortreuil, Attaché for Sciences and Higher Education, French Embassy South India, said there are inherent advantages of studying in France. “The cost of living in France is less compared to other European countries, courses allow mobility, work options, medical insurance and liberal scholarships are on offer," he said.
Students can choose from about 1,700 courses offered by 32 universities and 15 business schools.
These education institutes are amongst the best in the world with 72 Nobel prizes to their credit. According to French officials, the multicultural nature of academia is a matter of pride with 42 per cent of scholars enrolled in PhD programmes being foreigners.
There’s an added incentive for Indian students to pursue higher studies in France, pointed out Dr Mortreuil, as more than 1,000 companies working in India are either French or in collaboration with a French enterprise. “It’s an impressive list: Airbus, Renault, Decathlon, L’Oréal and many more. Such companies will be inclined to offer jobs to students who studied in France as they would be culturally compatible," the official said.
Some of these bigger companies have started two dozen research centres where Indian students in France will have an advantage.
There has been a growing bonhomie between the two nations backed by the personal equation between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanual Macron. The affection between the two leaders has led to these affirmative steps towards a lasting partnership.