Zimmer told dna that the biggest challenge in the education sector in India is how a huge number of aspiring students can be provided with more and more education. This center would be a facilitation and collaboration campus for different scholarly programs involving Chicago-based university and different Indian institutions and researchers. The center, located at Connaught Place, will start operating from March 28.
“It will not be a credit giving institution, but an educational excellence center that will promote collaborations,” said Zimmer, who clarified that that Chicago University does not plan to open any formal campus in India. However, the University of Chicago will continue its existing collaborations with different institutions and scholars, including with Mumbai’s Tata Institute of Social Sciences independently. They will be asked to route through the center only if it would help in the particular program.
Nearly 400 students from India and another 400 students of Indian-origin are part of the 16,000 strong student community in University of Chicago. The New Delhi center, the University administration says, will help many students in India familiarise with courses and opportunities offered at the Chicago campus.
Even though the precise course of action of the center is yet to be framed, it will largely focus on scholarships and teaching economics, law, medicine, energy, public health, religion, arts and many similar programs. Seminars, workshops, reading sessions and other cultural activities too will be held at the centre.
Indian institutions have been collaborating with the University of Chicago for over 100 years and this center, said Professor Gary Tubb, director of the New Delhi center, will provide a focus for building on that legacy in Delhi and the South-Asian region.
In Asia, the University of Chicago has a center in Beijing, China, which, scholars from different countries have visited more than 7,000 times in the last three years.
“We expect more enthusiasm in New Delhi and hope it will be a success. We expect people coming up with proposals that need collaboration and can be facilitated by the center,” added Zimmer. He further said that the center will be open to students of all nationalities in the capital.