AHMEDABAD (TIP): In what could see University of Oxford’s foray into Indian education scenario through its wholly owned subsidiary Isis Innovation, the renowned institution has tied up with Whistling Group for a private university in Gujarat. To come up in an area of over 50 acres in its first phase, the varsity will be based out of the auto hub of Sanand near Ahmedabad. The Whistling Group, an industrial group created by Gujarat entrepreneur Parag Shah, has signed a consultancy agreement with Isis Innovation Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of the University of Oxford. To be called ‘Whistling University’, the new university will offer postgraduate training in alternative energy, conventional energy and management, and will establish its own research programmes, aiming to become a national hub for innovation. “It aims to be an independent, worldclass university that will provide an opportunity to a number of underprivileged students who cannot afford or access world-class education, and will promote women’s participation in the field of alternative energy. The new university will also establish a policy think tank to influence strategic decisions in the field of energy, environment, and sustainability on a global scale,” said Parag Shah, chairman of the Whistling Group.

Isis Innovation Ltd is the technology transfer company of the University of Oxford, which manages consultancy work carried out by the University’s experts. The agreement is the first such agreement Isis Innovation has signed in India. Isis Innovation will be engaged as a lead consultant to advice on the creation of an ‘Innovation Centre’ to facilitate translation of knowledge from the university. “Oxford University has no plans in the foreseeable future to offer full degree courses anywhere other than Oxford itself, and so has no plans to establish an overseas campus. However, the university has identified increasing global cooperation as a key objective of its 2013-2018 strategic plan. This agreement between the Whistling Group and Isis will broaden overseas ties. We anticipate that the project will make a positive contribution to providing energy security for India,” said Loren Griffith, Director of International Strategy at Oxford University.

The Whistling University will offer B.Tech, M.Tech, BBA, MBA, LLB, PhD and post doctoral work programs with the help of both Oxford sourced faculty and Oxford trained Indian faculties. According to Aviruk Chakraborty, director of Whistling Sun Education Pvt. Ltd., the Oxford arm will also offer 100% placement assistance in its eight year long exclusive partnership with the group, after which Isis can enter into partnership with any other group in India. “We will invest around Rs 290 crore over next four years through 25% equity and 75% debt and will have a fee structure comparable to that of other private universities. We will be applying for a university status under the Gujarat Private Universities Act, University Grants Commission (UGC) and All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE). We will begin the academic session of the first phase within a year from getting the university status with a batch size of 500 students,” said Chakraborty. In its full strength in the seventh year since inception, Whistling University will have a full-time faculty strength of 400 and a total student strength of 4,000.

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