In a breakthrough for Indian students keen on studying in a Canadian institution, according to a recent agreement between the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute (SICI) and Quebec government, an Indian student pursuing higher studies in Québec, Canada, will pay the same tuition fee as a domestic student. Around 27 higher education institutions are based in Québec, including McGill, Concordia and Laval, among others.
The move came into effect from February 2010. The eligibility criterion requires that an Indian student pursues full-time study in a programme offered by a Quebec institution of higher learning. The number of university level exemptions is 15 at the Master’s level and 14 at the doctoral level.
Says Sunaina Singh, president, SICI, "Selection of students recommended for fee exemption is to be conducted in a transparent manner through an adjudication committee. The criteria for selection may include the latest transcripts, a CV, letters of recommendation from the schools attended, a letter of intent and description of achievements."
Discussing SICI’s future plans, Singh says, "We would be revitalising our academic collaborations and research in higher education with the view to promote Canadian and Indian studies; develop a synergy between research and its dissemination, twinning programmes, joint or dual degrees, and develop a strategy to promote post-doctoral research and training in Canada and proactively focus on research objectives as the institute has a rich bank of knowledge with 80 premier institution members. We also plan to develop a database/portal and renew our foundations including partnerships, administration and governance."
Facilitating ‘joint research’ is another area of focus and the institute will be investing in students and researchers through student-scholarships, internships, research fellowships, culture and fine arts training for both graduate and undergraduate students. There will also be renewed emphasis on international development. SICI’s faculty and student mobility programme, initiated by Singh as a pilot programme under the IX Addendum of the MoU, aims at ‘internationalisation of the curriculum.’
SK Thorat, chairman, UGC, attending ‘Focus Canada,’ a forum organised by SICI, said: "One area that needs attention is investing in teachers who should be sent abroad for faculty exchanges. These programmes not only help in value addition, but also the experiences they bring back can further help in improving our educational techniques and curriculum."
Vocational sector is one area that has tremendous scope, feels Amit Khare, joint secretary, department of higher education, MHRD. Besides, institutional linkages need to be strengthened, he added.
The institute has a range of fellowship programmes, which include India studies, understanding Canada, collaborative research projects, visiting lectureship, partnership development seed grant and millennium development goals research grant for both faculty members and students of both countries.
SICI has 50 academic institutions in India as its members. They include the IITs, IIMs, law schools and central and state universities. It has 37 members in Canada including McGill, Queen and York universities. Its scope has expanded to include law, management, environment, science and even biotechnology, among others.