April 21, 2009
Vice-Chancellor’s Office, Coimbatore
When Amma visited Mauritius recently, the Head of the State, President The Rt. Hon. Sir Anerood Jugnauth, welcomed her. Several top ministers also came to see Amma. The Pro-Chancellor of the University of Mauritius, Prof. Soodursun Jugessur, was a guest of honor at Amma’s darshan program and welcomed her.
Later, Dr. Venkat Rangan, Vice-Chancellor of Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Jay Misra, who heads International Relations and Kamal Bijlani, head of e-learning, called upon the top administrators of the University of Mauritius in an effort to explore opportunities for mutual collaboration. The university, located in the largest town within the island country, has over 8000 students and about 250 faculty members. Areas of research focus include land-slides and tsunami-recovery. Emphasis is also placed on innovation centers, entrepreneurship and the creation of small businesses.
The team first met Prof. Jugessur. “Wouldn’t it be great to take the Indian spiritual culture and make it part of Mauritius?” Prof. Jugessur asked the Amrita team. Amrita has a strong tradition of cultural and value education on its different campuses; the team offered help with these classes at the University of Mauritius also. Over 50% of the population of Mauritius is of Indian origin; their ancestors were sent on ships from British India to work on sugarcane plantations in Mauritius. Most never returned home. Prof. Juggesur, who has served the UN for 18 years as Chief of Science and Technology for Africa also mentioned how UN initiatives are helping with education.
The team next met with the Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Indur Fagoonee, who expressed an interest in Amrita’s e-learning initiatives. “Let us work together and generate an MoU,” he told them. E-learning software with text-to-voice capability that was developed at that university was introduced. The team met with Prof. Rughooputh, Pro Vice Chancellor for Research as well as the Minister of Education, Culture and Human Resources, Dr. The Hon. Vasant K. Bunwaree as well. An MoU is being drafted; areas for collaboration will include e-learning as well sharing research on environment and climate change. Later, Dr. Venkat Rangan called upon the Indian High Commissioner to Mauritius, Mr. M. Ganapati who was also a guest of honor at Amma’s darshan program.