Chandigarh, India: Premier Christy Clark on Saturday announced funding for 20 scholarships, worth a total of $50,000, to support and encourage the two-way exchange of students between the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) and Sanatan Dharma (SD) College in Chandigarh, India.
“The Government of British Columbia recognizes the social, cultural and economic benefits of student exchanges between India and British Columbia,” said Clark. “This trade mission provides us with opportunities to meet face-to-face with key representatives from many sectors, including education. That helps us build and strengthen our relationships.”
Clark made the announcement during a visit to the UFV campus at SD College in Chandigarh, as part of a nine-day international trade mission to India. The mission is focused on promoting key B.C. sectors, including liquefied natural gas and other natural resources, clean technology, life sciences, film, digital arts, education and finance. The trade mission will also showcase B.C. as India’s fastest and most-efficient gateway to North American markets.
“We are committed to increasing the number of international students studying in British Columbia and the number of B.C. students studying abroad,” said Minister of Advanced Education Amrik Virk. “We hope the scholarships will encourage more students from India to choose B.C. as their study destination so they can experience our high-quality education system first hand.”
SD College is located in Chandigarh, which is in the state of Punjab in the northwest of India. The college hosts UFV at its Chandigarh campus, and the two institutions have established a partnership based on mutual respect, common values and similar education goals.
“We are delighted that the Ministry of Advanced Education shares our view that student exchanges are extremely valuable,” said UFV President and Vice Chancellor Mark Evered. “These scholarships will allow students from B.C. and India to learn more about each other’s culture and forge lifelong bonds that will benefit both jurisdictions from both an economic and social standpoint. They will also enable our university to create even closer ties to SD College, with whom we have established several partnerships and connections.”
Up to 10 scholarships will be awarded each year, beginning in 2015, until all 20 have been disbursed. The scholarships may be awarded for study in any discipline offered by UFV or SD College and can be applied against the cost of tuition, travel, accommodation or other costs. Students must have completed at least one year of study at either institution to be eligible.
“We at SDCC feel honoured to receive such an initiative from the Government of British Columbia,” said President of Sanatan Dharma College Upkar Krishan Sharma. “This gesture speaks volumes about the commitment of UFV to our institution and students alike by enabling financial support to those aspiring students who want to attain world class higher education.“
India is identified as a key export market in the BC Jobs Plan, and is already emerging as an important trade and investment partner for B.C. For example, in 2013, B.C. goods exported to India jumped by 46% to $469 million compared to the same period in 2012.
This trade mission will build on the success of the Premier’s Jobs and Trade Mission to China and India in 2011 by strengthening B.C.’s relationships with government partners and promoting the province’s competitive advantages in corporate meetings and events with key investors in priority sectors.
The provincial government is committed to a 50% increase in the number of international students studying in B.C. by 2016.