BANGALORE: The Maastricht Education and Research Centre (MERC) has been operating since January 2010 and was officially inaugurated on the 6th of December 2010. Maastricht University (UM) set up this fully owned subsidiary, based in Bangalore in order to effectively explore possibilities for cooperation and to build strong academic/industry/education partnerships in India. Katerina Diakidis, Executive Training and Development, speaks to Vyas Sivanand about the University and its programmes.
What is the primary role of MERC? Does it work as a sole consultancy for Maastricht University?
Maastricht Education and Research Centre Pvt. Ltd (MERC) is a subsidiary of Maastricht university, Netherlands and has been incorporated as a Private Limited Company under the Indian Companies Act, 1956. MERC wishes to connect UM with Indian students, family, academia, alumni, educational institutions and industries. It supports interested Indian students in taking the right decision on studying abroad; assist them to apply and seek admission to UM. Moreover, MERC aims at establishing research networks in areas such as life sciences, psychology, law innovation technology, knowledge engineering and management.
With competition increasing in the overseas education, what are your main strategies to get more students?
First and foremost, it is important to note that UM emphasises on quality over quantity. We prefer a small number of eligible and dedicated students over a vast number of less qualified
applicants. MERC wishes to raise awareness on Maastricht University and The Netherlands as a competitive study-abroad destination. In doing so, it specifically emphasises UM’s specific advantages as a study destination for (Indian) students:
Unique and contemporary courses: UM offers a range of Bachelor and Master courses which are not only addressing contemporary challenges, but also follow unique curricula. Just to list a few, one could mention: MSc Artificial Intelligence, MSc Operations Research, MSc Global Health, MSc in Epidemiology, MSc in Cognitive and Clinical Neuroscience, MSc Infonomics, MSc Intellectual Property Law and Knowledge Management, etc.
International Exposure: With almost 50 per cent of its students and over 30 per cent of its staff from abroad, UM has been ranked one of the most international universities in Europe. Problem Based Learning: UM promotes an innovative teaching system called Problem Based Learning, which puts more emphasis on practical skills and ensuring that students are faced with reality based scenarios. In giving the student an active role during tutorial sessions, which are comprised of max. fifteen students and one academic supervisor.
Leadership Skills Development: Through their active participation in tutorial sessions, students evolve significant leadership qualities and are, therewith, well prepared for a professional career on a national or international level. We also focus on building top-quality research partnerships with the best in India in areas of social relevance.
What are the main criteria to qualify for admission in UM?
Bachelor applicants with an excellent academic track record in their 12th standard are eligible, whereas eligible Master applicants will require a good Bachelor degree in a relevant area. Additionally, English proficiency is a must. Moreover, courses at the School of Business and Economics require GMAt/GRE; and courses offered at the Department of Knowledge Engineering require a
What is the cost?
In the academic year 2011-12, the annual tuition-fee for Bachelor programmes amounted to 8500 Euros, for Master programmes to 12000 Euros (1 Euro = Rs 66.9 as on 8th April 2012). All Bachelor programmes at UM have a duration of three years, while Master programmes last one to two years. UM does not charge an application fee and offers a range of scholarships for international students. Non-EU students, who are accepted to a Master programme at UM are, for instance, invited to apply to the UM High Potential Scholarship.
Does MERC undertake any research activity?
Rather than undertaking research activities on its own, MERC acts as facilitator to build research-oriented projects between UM and prestigious Indian institutions. MERC strives to develop combine the best of Maastricht and India.