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By Way2k Way2k
Way2k 5 Oct 2012
Oxford date with Presidency and IIT

Are you a very bright student but come from a very poor family? Not to worry, Oxford University will let you in and offer you a scholarship to cover your fees and living expenses. That basically is the deal Oxford University vice-chancellor Professor Andrew Hamilton, a down to earth chemist, is offering as he arrived in India today with a very senior team. As Jane Sherwood, Oxford's director of graduate admissions and funding who is travelling with the vice-chancellor put it: “We are not interested in your background”. She will be alongside the vice-chancellor when they pop into Presidency University on March 24 to make a pitch for the best and the brightest.

Oxford date with presidency IIT

Hamilton will be travelling to Mumbai and Delhi, spending a couple of days in Calcutta and finding time to deliver his big speech of the trip at IIT Kharagpur to mark the Queen's diamond jubilee. So, The Telegraph cut to the chase and asked the vice-chancellor: “Why Calcutta? What would he saying in his keynote address at IIT Kharagpur? “ “I will be talking about the challenges of becoming -and in Oxford's case -remaining a world-class university in the 21st century”, Hamilton responded. “Those challenges come in the form of funding pressures, in the form of intense international competition from many different countries and indeed increasingly from universities in India”. “I will be talking about the importance of the balance between research excellence, which is obviously enormously important, but also attention to serious and engaged teaching structures”, he said, stressing Oxford was commit ted to retaining its one-to-one tutorial system.

Hamilton pointed out that “the first recorded Englishman to arrive in India was a graduate of New College Oxford in 1579-80 so there have been links for a very long time. We have had a strong presence on the ground in India for a century now and we will be celebrating the centenary of Oxford University Press in Delhi”. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is expected to attend the Oxford University Press celebrations. “We are looking forward to meeting the Prime Minister and we are hoping to have other meetings with Indian leaders and politicians”, the vice-chancellor confirmed. Along with Kharagpur, “I am looking forward to visiting Calcutta - we are going to visit Presidency University where there will be an alumni reception”, Hamilton continued.

“In many respects the visit to Calcutta is for us an opportunity to reinforce what we know: that there is much, much more to India than Mumbai and Delhi. And that there are Oxford alumni everywhere and we have a sizeable cohort of Oxford alumni in Calcutta. Major links to our alumni is one of the very important reasons for this trip as well as interacting with Indian students and encouraging them to consider Oxford University for their studies.“ Even for Oxford, which has raised “£ 1, 299, 512, 525 -just under £ 1.3 billion“ -since 2004, it needs even more money to go on funding scholarships, such as the ones being offered in ever increasing numbers to students from India.

Hamilton also spoke of academic collaboration. “We want to press the collaboration we have between Oxford scientists and scientists in India, between Oxford medical researchers and medical researchers in India and, of course, the long standing links between the humanities and social science researchers which have been strong for a very long time”. The top team with the vice-chancellor will include: Oxford’s director of development Liesl Elder, director of international strategy Loren Griffith, deputy director of alumni relations Jane Szele, dean of the Said Business School Peter Tufano, professor of linguistics Aditi Lahiri, director of Indox Cancer Research Network Raghib Ali, and the co-directors of the George Centre for Healthcare Innovation Robyn Norton and Stephen Mac Mahon.

Also on hand will be ex- Kharagpur boy, Subir Sarkar, now professor in theoretical physics at Oxford, who told The Telegraph: “Our work progresses mainly through international collaboration. So having been born and educated in India (B.Sc, M Sc at IIT Kharagpur, PhD at Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai) it was natural for me to set up a research network with Indian physicists after I moved to Oxford.” Indian students are eligible to apply for six scholarships, including the Clarendon, the Rhodes and the Felix.

Courtesy: The Telegraph

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