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India education: Going green

A young Indian university shows Yale the way.

To ensure that its graduates understand how their environmental projects will operate in the real world, the curriculum is a mix of social sciences and hard sciences. Students enrolled in water-resources management will also study policy issues, and students enrolled in public policy and sustainable development will also study pure sciences.

India's top industrial houses believe the university's balanced mix of multidisciplinary and innovative education equips students with skills suited to real-world problems rather than just academic theorizing.

"What they teach is very relevant to today's context," said Ulhas Parlikar, director of the alternative fuels and raw materials division of ACC Limited, a leading cement company in India. "Its graduates are multidimensional, are very willing to work in the field, and have passion for their work."

The university's next goal is to become more global, both in its curriculum and its student body.

"That is important because when it comes to environmental issues, we have a great deal to learn from others, and others can learn a great deal from us," said Mr. Pachauri. TERI's partnership with Yale reflects that interest. And Pachauri's appointment as head of Yale's Climate and Energy Institute will only deepen this partnership.

"Our collaboration with TERI University is beneficial to both sides," said Timothy Gregoire, a professor in the Yale forestry school. "It is imperative we remove the insularity of years past and become a global community." He noted that Yale, which last year announced a multimillion-dollar investment in academic partnerships in India, has a long-term commitment to the country. "They view our collaboration with TERI University as a model on which to develop such relationships," he said.