After launching its centres across India, Punjab Technical University (PTU) is all set to take the education world by storm by foraying into South Asian and African countries.
To start with, PTU will launch its management and technical courses through distance learning programmes in SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) countries and then move to African and even Gulf countries.
"We are very seriously thinking of opening our study centres - which will offer professional courses - to the overseas students in SAARC countries," said PTU vice chancellor Rajneesh Arora.
"We have already got inquiries from Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. For this, we have submitted our proposals to the UGC (University Grants Commission)," Arora told the sources here.
"We have fulfilled all conditions and guidelines of the UGC and are waiting for their green signal. If everything goes as per the plan, then by the next academic session we will launch our courses in all SAARC countries," he added.
SAARC is an economic and political organization of eight countries of South Asia. They are Bangladesh, Bhutan, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, India, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka.
"Besides foreign students, there are countless Indian youngsters staying in SAARC countries, who want to study further but cannot afford to do so because of the hefty fees. Moreover, these courses will improve their job prospects and help them to hone their existing skills," Arora said.
Talking about other plans, Arora said, "After SAARC countries, we will open our centres in Gulf and African countries. Gradually we will also move towards central Asia and Southeast Asia. We have constituted an expert committee which is looking after these projects and keeping a close tab on the market demands and changing curriculum at the global level."
PTU, established by an act of the Punjab state legislature in 1997, has 155 affiliated engineering, management, pharmacy and architect colleges in Punjab. Currently, around 100,000 students are studying in these colleges.
Under its distance education programme, PTU has more than 1,000 learning centres across the country. Currently, around 150,000 students are enrolled with its distant learning programme. The number of students have been growing at a remarkable 100 percent rate per annum for the last four years.
According to the PTU officials, for its overseas programme eligible students would be required to apply online for different courses and e-books will be provided to them. After the completion of the course, an online test will be conducted and PTU degrees will be awarded to the successful candidates.
"PTU would also establish a world class textile institute at a cost of around Rs.150 crore in Punjab's Barnala district. We have already got 20 acres of land from the Punjab government in Sanghera village in Barnala," he said.
"We will tie up with leading textile brands like Trident, Vardhman and Nahar that will provide technical know-how to the institute's faculty and students. We aim to churn out technical experts for the rapidly growing textile industry of Punjab," he added.