West Bengal Minister Bratya Basu has said the government was in favour of foreign higher educational institutes with good academic reputation setting up their bases in the state but "the ball is in the Centre's court". Basu, the state education minister, was speaking to reporters at a programme - West Bengal- UK Roundtable on Higher Education - on Thursday evening. He interacted with representatives of six higher educational institutes from the UK, which have expressed interest to set up their bases in the state. "Through this roundtable, I invite UK institutes to partner with us to accelerate two-way mobility of faculty and students, dual programmes, setting up campuses in West Bengal and enhance our joint research in areas of mutual interest," the minister said.
Responding to a question, Basu later told reporters that "as far as setting up bases of reputed UK higher educational institutes in the city and elsewhere is concerned, the ball is in the Centre's court. If the Union government gives its nod, the state can facilitate the process by extending all help as partner”. West Bengal is an “important hub for education” and houses a number of institutes of national importance for academics as well as research, he said. This year's Bengal Global Business Summit featured education as a key sector for employment generation and creation of international quality research institutes so that Bengal can function as a hub for all of the east, north-east and ASEAN countries, the minister said. He pointed out that 22 MoUs were signed between the state-run and private universities in Bengal in the business summit on various subjects ranging from academic exchanges to research. Representatives from universities of East London, Kent and Leeds, Royal Holloway College were among those present at the roundtable organised by the British Council.
Officials from two bodies such as Universities UK International and Department for International Trade were also part of the delegation that met senior state officers, policy makers and representatives of top universities. Officials from IIEST Shibpur, IISER Kolkata, Indian Statistical Institute, Calcutta University, Jadavpur University and several other institutes participated in the event. Meanwhile, a 10-member committee formed by the West Bengal government to assess the need for a state-level policy on education will submit its report by June 30, a senior official said Thursday. "The committee was supposed to submit its recommendations in 88 days. So we are positive about getting the same by June 30," he said.
Internationally known scholar Gayatri Chakraborty Spivak, Jadavpur University vice chancellor and eminent historian Prof Suranjan Das, Harvard University Prof Sugata Bose are among the members of the panel formed by the government in the first week of April. To another question, if the state is exchanging notes about the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 with other states like Maharashtra and Kerala, the top official said the members of the committee are already into that job.