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We want to see more Indian students in France: French ambassador

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France looking to improve partnership with India

Chandigarh: Francois Richier, French ambassador to India paid visits to educational institutions such as PEC University of Technology and Chandigarh College of Architecture (CCA) after having met Shivraj Patil, the Governor of Punjab on Thursday, during his visit in the city.

Richier has a host of ideas over the associations with India, especially those concerned with the field of research and agriculture.

Richier informed that higher education was a priority in his government's agenda along with scientific research while speaking about the "French spirit" in Chandigarh. While interacting with students and faculty members at PEC, the ambassador said, "We want to see more Indian students in France, and vice-versa."

France was looking to improve the existing tie-ups with Indian educational institutions, the ambassador added. He said, "We want more students as well as faculty exchange, so that both sides can benefit from the other's expertise."

French engineering school, Eurecorp, located in the French Riviera capital of Nice, had also shown an interest in the partnership with PEC. He added, "Representatives from the school will soon pay a visit to Chandigarh and discuss the tie-up with authorities at PEC." He also stressed upon the re-boosting of various programmes endeavoured by PEC with French institutes like ESIGELEC and INRIA Research Labs.

At Alliance Francise in Sector 36 in another interaction, Richier said that France was seeking for options to collaborate Alliance Francaise to universities in Chandigarh and Punjab, in cultural dimension and to encourage teaching of the French language.

As a part on its internship projects in 2013, 3,000 students from India visited France, 1,400 French students came to India to study. "More than 600 English-speaking courses have been started by the French institutes in the recent years. This addresses the concern of Indian students about the acceptance of non-French speaking people in the country," Richier said.

Regarding the 5 year visa for masters and PhD degree holders from French universities, which was initiated last year, Richier said that France was open to students from overseas. The turban was not banned in France said Richier while answering ro a query by a PEC student. "We believe in religious neutrality, so all forms of religious symbols and displays that can differentiate amongst students are banned from government schools and colleges. You can sport a turban if you are going to a university or a private school," he added.

Later, Richier said that France had acknowledged fields such as scientific research, agriculture, bio-tech, agro-tech, urban development and water management to work in partnership with Punjab

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