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© Neena Bhandari, Indo Asian News Service

ImageMelbourne, Aug 19 (IANS) As Australian education degrees get greater recognition in India, students are availing themselves of the many scholarships awarded by the Australian government to pursue further studies and research in universities across the country.

Vaibhav Jain, 21, and Ashish Arora, 22, both from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee, have just completed a research project at the La Trobe University here under the Endeavour Student Exchange Programme.

"It was chance that I stumbled upon this programme while surfing the Internet and was elated when I was told that I had qualified for the scholarship", says Jain, a fourth year student of electrical engineering, who has just spent 10 weeks in the Business Systems and Knowledge Modelling laboratory at the La Trobe University's Bundoora campus, researching "Emotive profiling of student in e-learning and face to face lecture".

"In this application we profile a student's emotional responses to teaching content being delivered in an e-learning situation. Among other aspects, the emotional responses can be used to change the pace of content delivery. In future this work will be extended for delivery of emotionally intelligent lecturers," explains Jain, who has enjoyed the experience of interacting with students from a dozen other nationalities.

During 2008, 73 Indian students from a wide range of disciplines came to study in Australian institutions and 35 Australian students went to study in India under the Endeavour programme, which offers eligible overseas students tuition fee waiver and a grant of about A$5,000 towards personal expenses.

La Trobe, which has links to Lady Sri Ram (LSR) College in New Delhi, IIT Roorkee and the Jain Group of Institutions in Bangalore, had the highest number of 10 outgoing students to India while the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) had the largest number of 19 incoming students.

Jain and Arora, who are among the 11 incoming Indian students coming to La Trobe under the programme, told IANS: "It has been a whole new educational experience which has given us an insight into Australian society and culture. The professors and students here have a more open approach".

From addressing their professors by their first names to living in mixed gender hostels to the diversity of food on offer, it has been a learning curve for the two IITians.

"I might just return to pursue post-graduation here", says Arora, a fourth year electronic and communications engineering student, whose research project has been on "Eye gaze tracking for selection of holiday destination on e-tourism websites".

"It is architecture for tracking eye gaze of a perspective traveller and personalising their holiday destination images, developed and implemented using a standard web camera," Arora elaborates.

As Australia becomes one of the most popular destinations for higher education among Indian students, the Endeavour programme is increasing people-to-people exchanges by giving an opportunity to researchers, executives and students in both Australia and India to undertake short- or long-term study, research and professional development in a broad range of disciplines.

Purvi Tantia, a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) student from LSR, who is here under the exchange programme, says: "The university here offers the flexibility to pursue various special subjects and degrees and I am exploring the option of returning to do a combined MBA (Finance & Marketing) and Masters in Law (Global Business)".

© Copyright Neena Bhandari. All rights reserved. Republication, copying or using information from any content is expressly prohibited without  the permission of the writer and the news agency through which the article is syndicated.  

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