Student and teacher exchanges between Blekinge and India
Indian students on International Day 2008
There are many students from India in Blekinge. They are enrolled in the Masters Degree programme at BTH. Teachers and researchers from Blekinge who are cooperating with the area in India can enjoy the synergistic benefits offered by the India project. The India project can help improve cooperation, and hopefully even attract Swedish students to obtain some of their education in India. Establishing more exchange programmes builds bridges between the countries, providing advantages for both research and business.
Cooperation with Andhra Pradesh - background
The first ideas about collaboration between the universities with Andhra Pradesh arose in early 2006 when the Section for Technology contacted the International Department to discuss how to ensure international recruitment even after a fee was imposed for students from countries outside the EU and EEC.
The initial purpose of cooperation with universities in India was to secure a flow of students. BTH chose to focus on India in part because of the many high-achieving students from India enrolled at BTH, and in part because of the country's strength in IT and technology. The strategy chosen to achieve the goal was to formulate cooperation agreements with a limited number of Indian universities, to make BTH's name known and in this way also attract "free mover" students.
The Andhra Pradesh region was deliberately chosen because of the strong growth of IT in the region, which is not yet as "exploited" as the Bangalore region. Gurudutt Velpula, a recent BTH graduate from Andhra Pradesh who was greatly involved in the issue and who had strong contacts at a high level in his home region, was hired by TEK to investigate on-site opportunities for cooperation with universities in the Andhra Pradesh region.
In spring 2006 Gurudutt Velpula laid the groundwork for the project in India and in May that year Jan-Olof Gustavsson, Lars Lundberg from TEK and Maria Engelmark from the International Department visited Andhra Pradesh. The visit resulted in three Memorandums of Understanding with the universities JNTU, Andhra University and SVU.
During the 2006-2007 academic year, Gurudutt Velpula and programme coordinators at TEK, as well as their Indian counterparts, carried out an extensive preparatory project in the fields of Signal Processing and Software Engineering with the purpose of establishing joint Double Diploma programmes with JNTU and Andhra University. These efforts culminated in June 2007 with the signing of Memorandums of Cooperation with an Annex for Double Diploma. In the spring of 2008 about 40 Indian students arrived as the first to participate in the cooperation project with BTH. These efforts have made further progress with the introduction of the India Project.
During the 2007-2008 academic year another Double Diploma programme was created in Telecommunication Systems with JNTU and Andhra University, respectively. During the spring of 2009 about 80 Indian students are expected to arrive at BTH in the six Double Diploma programmes.
In 2008 the focus on student mobility involved developing reciprocity, ensuring that we have Swedish students who travel to India for their studies. TEK sent out a special mailing in early spring 2008 to attract Swedish students to the Double Diploma programmes mentioned above with a focus on India at BTH. The international oriented degree programme in International Software Engineering focused on India.
Efforts have begun to create a Civil Engineering programme with a focus on India. To publicise these (and other) opportunities for international experience at BTH and to even create a competitive advantage for BTH that will attract Swedish students to our technology education programmes, BTH will establish a virtual school called "BTH Go Global".
In the fall of 2006 an additional initiative began, inspired by the collaboration involving BTH and the region with the Yunnan province in China. The idea was to use the cooperation projects initiated with the universities through Gurudutt Velpula's high-level contacts in Andhra Pradesh to achieve a similar regional cooperation with this region as with the Yunnan province. The idea was presented to Lars Haikola, who was vice-chancellor at that time.
Since the response was very positive, as was that of Ursula Hass, Gurudutt continued his efforts in India with this new goal. As a result, the Governor of Anhra Pradesh and the chairperson and vice-president for Andhra Pradesh's equivalent to the National Agency for Higher Education expressed interest in visiting BTH.
The India project will be involved in their visit, which will be arranged in 2009.
The India Project has enhanced cooperation between researchers at BTH and the Indian Institute of Technology Madras, IIT-M Chennai.
A cooperation agreement between IIT-M and BTH, on which the India project had a positive influence, was signed in November 2008 by IIT-M Chennai.