France opens door to engineering students from India

April 29th, 2008 - 7:46 pm ICT by admin  

By Madhusree Chatterjee
New Delhi, April 29 (IANS) France has opened the doors to its technology for Indian engineers - for the first time selecting 16 young engineering students to study in various universities across France on scholarships sponsored by Alten, a leading French engineering group. The programme is in association with the ‘n+1′, a network of 74 French engineering colleges, and the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The students short-listed for the two-year masters’ programme took part in a pre-departure orientation programme at the French Embassy Monday.

The students were selected from among 100 from Delhi, Thiruvananthapuram and Mumbai based on their merit and adaptability skill. They will complete their masters degree, accompanied by internship programmes with the Alten Group. The ‘n+I’ network comprises some of the best engineering colleges in France.

“It is a new initiative. The French government is allowing Indian engineers to study in the country for the first time. The agreement was signed between Valerie Pecresse, minister of higher education and research in France, and several Indian universities in January when President Nicolas Sarkozy visited India,” Philippe Carette, chief executive officer of the Alten Group, told IANS.

Carette said Alten was increasing its business significantly in India and wanted a global workforce, which could adapt to both French and Indian culture. The students will have to study and answer their papers in French. The streams include automotive, aerospace, cad-cam, design, innovation and telecommunication, in which the country has technological edge.

Alten comprises 11,000 engineers, who provide integrated technical solutions to big industry names in automation, aerospace, electronics and energy engineering across the world. It is one of the biggest technical consultants in Europe.

“President Sarkozy wants to internationalise our country as an education stop. He is keen that the number of Indian students in France goes up and vice-versa. India is a big market for us and we have to localise our products to tap its potential. At the same time, we have to be cost effective, service oriented and quality conscious.

“We need local engineers for the purpose who can understand the language - both French and Indian. The curriculum of the engineering students has been roughly tailored to suit our needs,” Alten’s offshore business director, Munich-based Indrajit Sen, told IANS. The company is also ready to support the students for their doctoral programmes if they prove themselves.

Ten out of the 16 students short-listed for the Master of Science (MS) programme were present at the orientation. Snehanshu Sekhar, a student of Electronics at the Birla Institute of Technology-Mesra in Ranchi, will pursue a two-year MS programme and a one-year working internship.

“I want international exposure in engineering and a knowledge of the global market to know the areas where our country is falling behind. So that when I return, I can fill the gap,” the be-spectacled student told IANS. Alten will provide all his expenses, barring pocket money.

Kamal Dalakoti from the College of Engineering, Roorkee, will study telecommunication at Britagne, a university in the Brest region of France. He is fluent in five Indian languages and knows French. “After my master’s, I will pursue a doctoral degree.” He liked the programme because it was affordable and the “degrees are globally renowned”.

The French government has increased the number of scholarships for Indian students. Next year, as many as 300 students will get an opportunity to study in France. The French government has also enacted a new legislation that will allow Indian students to work for a couple of years in the country after completing their master’s degrees.

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