Representative from new university in India visits Texas A&M

Jain Irrigation Systems Limited, the largest irrigation technology company in the world, is establishing a new university in India that will address the sustainable development of agriculture, water resources and renewable energy.

As part of the planning and outreach for the university start-up, Dr. Dilip Kulkarni, Jain’s president of sustainable agriculture and strategy, recently met with Texas A&M University administrators, faculty and staff to explore collaborations.

As he visits with Texas A&M and other U.S. university faculties, Kulkarni said he is hoping to develop collaborations in developing course curricula for the university and recruiting faculty to become visiting professors as well as discussing a student exchange program. He is also seeking Indian students who are completing their doctorate or are postdocs to become future faculty at the university.

Kulkarni said Jain’s late founder, Dr. Bhavarlal H. Jain, sought to start a university focused on four areas: water resource management, sustainable agriculture, renewable energy and rural development. According to the company, there are no educational institutes in India devoted to sustainable development, particularly in water resources management, smart and sustainable agriculture and renewable energy. 

“Most Indian university education is classroom teaching and very little of hands-on experiential learning,” Kulkarni said.

The Bhavarlal Jain University will include teaching, research and extension activities. Kulkarni said Jain believed that technological growth cannot be achieved merely by imparting theoretical knowledge but must be complemented with appropriate on-field exposure and practical training.

The university will be in a rural part of the Indian state of Maharashtra that has limited access to advanced education, technical expertise and application-oriented technologies.

Kulkarni said the university is waiting for approval from the Indian government and then plans to have its first students in September 2020, accepting students for master’s and doctorate degrees initially. He said the university is recruiting students globally, targeting students from India and Southeast Asia.

When selecting students, Kulkarni said they will not only look at their undergraduate scores, but will also test their passion toward the university’s focus areas.

“We want to produce not just degree holders, but thought leaders and best practitioners because the education will be more hands-on,” he said.

Eventually the university hopes to have 2,000 to 4,000 students and a professor and associate professor in each of the 10 specializations within the four program areas. Kulkarni estimated that 40 percent of the faculty will be permanent, 40 percent will be adjunct professors from institutions, industry and organizations in India and about 20 percent will be visiting professors from universities abroad.

Authors

As communications manager for TWRI, Kathy Wythe provides leadership for the institute's' communications, including a magazine, newsletters, brochures, social media, media relations and special projects. 

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