Pune: “Even post-Brexit, the number of Indian students travelling to the UK for studies has increased by nine per cent, thus showing that Brexit has not had any adverse effect on the educational opportunities for young Indians in the UK,” Allan Gemmell, OBE, Director India, British Council said.
He was speaking at the opening of the British Council's new Cultural Centre in Shivajinagar on Sunday.
He said, “We will try and get more people from India studying in our country through scholarships and educational programmes, and see to it that the educational opportunities for Indians in the UK continue to increase.”
Speaking about UK's relations with India, Colin Wells, Acting British Deputy High Commissioner said the UK is trying to have a better bond with India. “India and UK are connected on many fronts, we have common goals, common ideas. In coming years, UK's relation with India is going to be stronger than ever. We are also working on 'Smart City' project for three target cities, inlcuding Pune,” Wells said.
Speaking on the occasion, Sumit Mullick, Chief Secretary, Maharashtra said British Council is a big part of his life, having grown up reading books from the library in Kolkata and that he had never thought he would one day end up inaugurating the library himself. “When I came to Pune 20 years ago, I borrowed two books from the British Council Library here, which I haven't returned till date. I am glad that Allan has agreed to exempt me from 20 years of fine,” he added humourously.
Hub to have Cafe, Young Learners Zone
British Council, on Sunday announced the opening of its new Cultural Centre at Ramsukh House, near Sancheti Hospital, Shivajinagar, spread across 5,000 sq ft.
“The new library will also have a cafe for science enthusiasts. It will be an informal space where learners and speakers will discuss science. We have tied up with IUCAA (Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics) for the initiative. We also have plans for a Techie Club,” Gunjan Narula, Head, British Council Pune Centre said.
The library will have a Young Learners' Zone that will provide interactive books and exciting programmes including films and workshops.
Teachers Training Programme
Helen Silvester, Director British Council West India, said, “Till date, we have trained 100,000 teachers in the state, and made a difference in the lives of 5 to 7 million learners.”
Mullick added, “English is a very important language and in our country, we have people who have done Masters in the language and yet cannot speak it properly. So, we took up the programme with the British Council to train teachers. If the teachers are competent, they can pass the competency to the students as well.”
The New Library
The British Council Library has been moved from Fergusson College Road to Shivajinagar, near Sancheti Hospital. The new Library has over 10,000 books, DVDs, popular UK newspapers and magazines, digital access to 115,000 books and 14,000 journals, online resources including over 4,000 national and international newspapers and magazines, independent movies, learning games for children, software training, comics, audio books and academic journals from JSTOR. Existing British Council memberships will be automatically transferred to the new library.