Launch of France Alumni Bengaluru
H.E. Mr Jean-Marc Ayrault, French Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development launched France Alumni - Bengaluru and presided over the signing of the Studialis and iNurture MoU.
Bengaluru, Sunday, 8 January 2017
H.E. Mr Jean-Marc Ayrault, French Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, is on a four-day visit to India (8th - 11th January 2017) to strengthen the wide-ranging Indo-French bilateral ties, including the field of education. He began his trip in Bengaluru, where he launched the city’s chapter of France Alumni.
First unveiled in Paris by the then French Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development in November 2014, France Alumni has been conceived as an efficient multilingual digital platform to connect, inform and guide foreign students who have studied in French higher education institutes.
On this occasion Mr Ayrault addressed an academic community on Sunday, 8th January 2017, at Alliance Française de Bangalore.
Ahead of his address, Mr Ayrault toured the state-of-the-art facilities of the Alliance française, including the first-of-its-kind Gaming Lounge in India, a space exclusively dedicated to learning French using exciting, interactive videogames developed by French multinational Ubisoft.
This was followed by the signing of an MoU between Studialis and iNurture to establish a campus of excellence in Bengaluru, bringing together for the very first time French institutes specialising in areas France is renowned for: design, arts, creation. The MoU was signed by the President of Galileo Global Education France, Mr Marc-François Mignot Mahon, and the Managing Director and CEO of iNurture Education Solutions Ltd., Mr Ashwin Ajila.
The Alliance Française de Bangalore also showcased a kaleidoscope of Indian classical dances conducted by scholar /cultural partner Ashish Khokar.
Speech of H.E. Mr Jean-Marc Ayrault, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development on the occasion of the launch of France Alumni Network in Bengaluru
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At the outset, I would like to express my delight at being here with you today, in the wonderful premises of the Alliance française, the confluence of French and Indian cultures for almost 50 years. Today is the first leg of my trip to India. I am glad to begin it by meeting the young Indian generation, launching the France Alumni platform with you in Bengaluru.
France and India share the goal of promoting education and developing the skills of their youth. Like India, France democratizes access to higher education and ceaselessly strives to improve its quality.
All over the world, international student mobility has become a prominent issue. Such mobility is a sign of freedom. In our open world, it is a vital step towards building the career of young adults like you. A unique enriching experience through learning about a different culture. Students of the 21st century, you are the heirs of the young Englishmen of the 18th century who used to undertake the “Grand Tour”, an educational voyage that took them off the beaten tracks to discover the world. It is thus that people learn about each other and forge ties of friendship.
International student mobility is growing at an exponential rate: from 4 million international students in 2012, it is expected to reach 8 million by 2020. Around 3,00,000 foreign students come to France every year and discover a form of education “à la française”, an education inherited from the Lumières – or the Age of Enlightenment – which combines intellectual rigour and critical thinking.
We are amongst top 3 countries welcoming scholars studying abroad and the first among non-Anglophone countries. This is a matter of great pride for us.
The presence of foreign students is an opportunity for France. These budding ambassadors of French language, culture and excellence are an asset. The intellectual and emotional ties that foreign students forge with France, are forged with them in return by France, too. These exchanges promote a better understanding of the world and inculcate tolerance, which is at the core of our democracies. You are the best ambassadors of our country in the world.
In 2016, 4000 Indian students came to France. That’s fifty times more than it was 20 years ago. But it is still a very low number with regard to the excellent relations between our two countries. We must do more. President François Hollande and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have decided that higher education and student exchanges would be an essential dimension of our partnership. I have set the target of France hosting 10,000 Indian students by 2020. It is an ambitious goal, but it is within our reach.
Here in Bengaluru, where some of the finest examples of Indian higher education institutions are located, I would like to recall France’s priorities in this area since decades. These priorities are sharing and excellence.
First of all, sharing. France chose to grant the equality of opportunities, chose to give access to its public higher education to all at the same cost. The State bears the lion’s share of the tuition fees so that every student may avail of the best possible education. These university fees remain low and are exactly the same for both French and foreign students.
While continuing to increase the array of courses available in English, we wish to promote our courses offered in French. Studying in French is an advantage for students as they gain access to the Francophone world, its networks and its companies.
The openness of our educational system has not been achieved to the detriment of its quality. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Our higher education system and research are guided by the desire to excel. The numerous prizes that are awarded to French research are its testimony. This quest for excellence is also found in the quality of the education imparted in universities and “grandes écoles” or specialized colleges. It enables our companies to develop innovative and competitive products and services. It also enables them to absorb a great number of foreign collaborators as well as establish subsidiaries in foreign countries. That is the case in India, where there are over 400 French companies and more than 1000 entities, which are active in sectors as diverse as energy, transport, space, services. Tomorrow, these firms will need you, the young graduates.
We wish to create a network of former students in France to enable them to remain in touch with our country: with the French language and culture, with their hosting university, with their French friends. Through France Alumni, we want the attractiveness of our universities to continue being promoted through students’ experience in France, because they are our best spokespersons.
The France Alumni project, developed by Campus France and launched in end-2014 at the global level, has already been deployed in more than 70 countries in five continents, already connecting more than 35,000 alumni.
This platform is open to all those who, like you, have chosen to study in France and wish to extend their French experience. The ambition of France Alumni is not just to bring students under one umbrella institution. Its ambition is to bring together students over an experience: that of international mobility.
So I invite you to create your profile and join the community of those who share this experience of having studied in France. We will do our utmost to animate this network and make it fructify. It is now yours and it is up to you to make the best use of it!
Being with you at the beginning of the New Year to speak of travels, youth and friendship is a way of reaffirming our openness to the world, to reaffirm our shared ideal of freedom. In this I see a great message of mutual support and vitality. I see in this a message of ambition and hope.
France Alumni - India will help former students acquire key industry knowledge, discover exciting career opportunities, and gain valuable insights on the economic and professional world. Through this platform, the over 450 French companies operating in India, which employ 300,000 skilled Indian workers, can also share information on job offers and internships, develop their brand and recruit Indian talents.
The www.francealumni.fr/en portal enables former foreign students to keep abreast of upcoming events and opportunities. The 2016-2017 schedule includes, among others, job fairs, French Master classes, recognition of alumnae on International Women’s Day, webinars and seminars on topical issues, mentorship programmes, and participation in philanthropic activities.
Visa facilitation: France currently hosts around 4,000 Indian students and would like their numbers to rise to 10,000 in the coming years. It would also like to see greater academic exchanges. Thus, France has eased visa issuance for Indian students, alumni and academics:
- Simplified visa procedure: Through their Campus France offices, the Embassy of France in India has simplified visa procedures for Indian students wishing to study in France. Also, visa applications by Indian faculties and officials are now processed as a matter of priority.
- Work visa for students: This measure, introduced in May 2012, enables students graduating from French business and engineering schools to extend their stay and acquire work experience in France.
- Grant of long-term visas: Since July 2013, Indian alumni who hold a degree at the Master’s or higher level from a French higher education institution are being granted tourist or business visas with a long validity period.
Studialis is a network of 23 private institutions of higher education specialising in management, art, design and communications. The Galileo-Studialis network is the largest European group for higher education and third globally.
iNurture, established in 2009 in Bengaluru, offers professional programmes focused on Information Technology, Marketing Leadership and Innovation, and New Media, in partnership with 26 public and private Indian universities.
Five French institutes from the Studialis network will be involved in setting up the Centre of excellence in Bengaluru: Strate Ecole de Design; Hetic Internet School; ESG (luxury sector and hotel management); Atelier Chardon Savard (fashion design); and Penninghen (interior design and art direction).