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Why France remains the best destination for Indian Students amid the COVID crisis

I strongly believe that this is the perfect time for students to invest in higher education with the global economy staring at recession in its face



The global pandemic has not been able to deter Indian students from their pursuit of higher education in international universities as would the quick transition from campus-based learning to e-learning practices suggest.

Though student mobility in the emerging situation is likely to change and as European countries and USA try to trace their feet back to normalcy, global universities have learnt to adapt to the dynamic situation, fully aware that sooner than later, students would flock back to the campuses while the current scenario demands that they stay on course with an evolved online learning process as well as coping mechanism.

The Ministry of External Affairs statistics put the number of Indians studying abroad at over 7.5 lakh in 2018 and latest studies show that the global health crisis notwithstanding, majority of those who had planned higher education abroad would want to continue because international universities have been expeditious in enhancing healthy safety frameworks for students while putting in place stronger support systems and incentives at the same time.

According to a study by Leverage Edu, a leading edu-tech platform, at least 76 percent students initially said they planned to continue with their education abroad for the September and January dates. When they were informed of the contingency plans created by global educational institutions, the number jumped to 91 percent.

In Europe, France remains among the top destinations for Indian students because of the sheer quality of education, infrastructure, safety as well as multi-faceted cultural life the country presents

What is more encouraging is that more than 70 percent students repose their faith in international healthcare systems. The latest Indian Students Mobility Report 2020 by QS-I.GAUAGE says Indian students are very particular about education when they opt to study overseas. For them, factors like employability, reputation as well as university life merit more attention.

In Europe, France remains among the top destinations for Indian students because of the sheer quality of education, infrastructure, safety as well as multi-faceted cultural life the country presents. It is turning the global health crisis into opportunities and is fully geared to usher in the academic year for new students through virtual classrooms.

Image: Pixabay

It has also announced augmentation of the proportion of scholarships for the academic year by 50 percent which translates to Rs 10 crore (1.3 million US dollars). The scholarships will be awarded regardless of whether a student starts the semester in India or France, the French embassy has said.

That France has been a leader in extending support to foreign students’ community through visas and scholarships amid the pandemic crisis comes as a confidence booster for Indian students who continue to be greeted by the country.

A triple accredited B-School, emlyon business school was among the first international institutions in France to respond to the coronavirus pandemic with establishment of a Covid19 Task Force to address three key concerns – Security, Continuity and Quality. Health safety of students, faculties and stakeholders across the campuses was top on the checklist and the school acted rather swiftly by putting in place social distancing protocols.

Image: Pixabay

That said, the B-School never lost sight of the emerging scenario which necessitated continuity of academic process for the students. Moving 100 percent of its classes online was the first step towards creating an uninterrupted learning platform. It received a big vote of confidence from 98 percent students who were satisfied with the quality of learning materials and pedagogy.

The global VUCA situation taking a toll on the mental health of the students, the school also released and emergency fund of 200,000 K€ (the biggest amount by any B-School in France) to help students cope with the new financial burden; and the wellness center launched e few years ago geared up as part of the school’s commitment to a holistic growth and development of its stakeholders.

The question is, should the virus petrify us or electrify us? This is exactly the time to learn and develop skills for a new future

In India, emlyon business school also launched a special “Care, Share and Dare” webinar series, to reach out to students planning for admissions this academic season and address their concerns. The COVID 19 pandemic has resulted in a complex situation for everyone. The students who are about to begin their courses are looking for answers regarding the protocols to be followed and how things will shape up in the coming weeks and months.

The question is, should the virus petrify us or electrify us? This is exactly the time to learn and develop skills for a new future. This crisis has turned every business model of the past on its head and has propelled us towards a more digitized future.

I strongly believe that this is the perfect time for students to invest in higher education with the global economy staring at recession in its face.

As of now the intake, in September, is very much on the table and we are helping with clarifications about visa and travel. We want to offer the best student experience at any given time. We are closely monitoring the evolution with flexibility is at the core of the process. 

Depending on the programs, options range from temporary online classes, Glocal phygital pre-intakes, January in-person classes or 2021 deferment. We do not want to add additional stress to an already uncertain situation; we are in this together.


Aishwarya Subramanian – How this young woman designs her life as a Production Designer

‘Lights, Camera, Action’ are the three words we are all familiar with. Behind these three words there is a whole team of professionals, who are easily unseen. They act as an invisible force to help put together a film from start to end.



Aishwarya Subramanian, hailing from Delhi, is now an upcoming production designer associated with a handful of projects including short films, music videos and indie feature films in various roles. Aishwarya has completed her Master’s In Production Design from the prestigious Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, Georgia, USA in the year 2022. Before that, she did her Bachelor’s In Design (Interior Design) from Manipal University, Manipal. She finished her high school at International School of Kuala Lumpur, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Aishwarya is finding a place of her own in a largely male-dominated field. Apart from her unfailing passion for designing and art, she is equipped with the rich experience of having lived through various different cultures. However, she believes it is her upbringing in Indian community that laid a strong foundation for her interest in art and cinema.

As a schoolgirl, Aishwarya Subramanian used to attend stage performances of her brother. She, however, was more interested in all the drama that happens behind the stage. The people and the processes that go into the making of a performance was all that mattered to her. She probably would not have heard the term ‘production design’ those days. But the inspiration from watching all that behind-the-stage bustle stayed within her and grew over the years, prompting her to pursue a career in art direction. Even as a beginner, Aishwarya has a clear-cut approach to designing a project in a manner it enriches and enhances the narrative. She does not look at sets as mere lifeless props, but as important as a character.

“Whenever I watch a film or TV series, I notice the backgrounds and the settings of the film. I have always felt that sets have the power to make the audience empathize more with the characters in the story. Whenever I am working on a new project, I read the script first and try to understand the characters and how they would react to and/or interact with their surroundings. Based on this, I put together a lookbook/moodboard to discuss my thoughts and ideas with the director and producers. Once we lock in on them, then we proceed with securing the necessities for the set design” says Aishwarya.

Some of the projects she was a part of as a Production Designer includes an upcoming horror film, ‘What Are You Afraid Of?’, telling a thrilling story of a weekend trip of 5 high schoolers. She was also part of another film named ‘Game Nite’ as a Production designer. She says these projects allowed her to learn methods of designing sets within a small budget and creative methods to repurpose different objects and spaces. As a set decorator in another upcoming thriller film ‘Get Back Girl’, she was able to collaborate with a team of professionals and see different aspects of set design.

Some of the other projects she was part of the production design team, includes ‘Adelina’, a short thriller story of a medical doll. This film has won accolades in international film festivals. 

“Through all these projects, I was able to redesign sets both on-stage and on location, which has both challenged me as a designer and allowed me to identify my strengths. They have let me both be in a team and lead a team as a production designer” says Aishwarya. When asked about her future endeavors, she says, “Currently I am working on a few projects including a web series as Production designer. I am thoroughly enjoying my path and also learning throughout from different professionals. I am just at the beginning of my career and still have a long journey ahead to establish myself in the industry, not just in US but also in India.”

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How can Indian language assessment tests overcome existing issues to meet international standards 

Tests in India need to benchmark themselves against internationally accepted tests so that individuals can find better career opportunities



Language assessment tests in India suffer from ineffective infrastructure, high costs and many other issues. To judge test takers accurately, it is important to have accurate, unbiased tests. A comprehensive assessment of language skills makes the hiring process smoother. Assessment tests in India can overcome existing issues in the following ways:

Automated testing – ִּIntegrating technology in language testing offers convenience to test takers, and accurate results to the employers. Artificial intelligence offers less bias and quicker results. In addition, technology allows verified results even for remote users, and can provide high levels of test security. Without adequate technological advancements, the assessment process will continue to be tedious and inaccurate.

Holistic approach – Language proficiency includes multiple language modalities – speaking, reading, writing, and listening. Each of these four skills comprises several sub-skills which contribute to language proficiency. The tests must evaluate all these with some depth to accurately provide full picture of an individual’s language proficiency level. Many tests fail to meet the needs of employers because they focus on a limited subset of language skills. To combat this, tests in India must take a holistic approach towards language proficiency.  

Internationally recognized standards – Tests in India need to benchmark themselves against internationally accepted tests so that individuals can find better career opportunities across the globe and companies can identify workers who can communicate with speakers of other languages. The use of tests with different rating scales leads to confusion and lack of testing transparency. Use of an internationally accepted standard will make sure that the test-takers can take advantage of opportunities abroad with test results that are accepted internationally, and companies can understand more clearly whether their potential hires will be able to do the job. 

One of the major pitfalls of language assessment tests currently available in India is their inherent bias to accents

Widespread accessibility – During the pandemic, many workplace and academic institutions pivoted to an online or a hybrid model. While many sectors adapted to this change, the assessment sector in India is still operating in the old way. Test takers are required to travel to designated centres on specified dates. To tackle this issue, the existing tests must allow test-takers to take the tests online and at a time of their choosing. This increases job access to those in rural areas as well. Proper proctoring needs to be in place to ensure no one cheats during these online tests.  Technology based anti-cheating solutions enable remote testing while ensuring authentic results.

Accent agnostic – One of the major pitfalls of language assessment tests currently available in India is their inherent bias to accents. India is a nation with varied dialects and accents. To assess language proficiency comprehensively and objectively, tests need to be accent agnostic. This ensures that the test takers are assessed on their actual language skills and not their accents.  

All of these features will help the Indian language testing sector to meet international standards. The Association of Language Testers in Europe (ALTE) lists assessments such as Speaknow, Learning Matters, and Progos along with others on their website as those meeting these standards.

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A Mother Goddess



Am a Blessed Soul, my Ammaa !
Am not lonely, Mother Dear
Never lonely from the beginning
Mummy ever with me always
From my first breath onwards
Ever since stepping In here
First cries to beaming smiles
Birth to birth and rebirths
Life to live and living Alive
Feeding strength always as own
Feeling lively from umbilical cord
Musical ways Of Mother Nature 
Chords Of contentment and pride
Notes Of love forever required
Am a blessed soul my Ammaa
Am not lonely Mother Dear ..!

Ammaa, you inculcated my character
That all women are God’s Own
Mothers be God’s own particles
Mums,the sufferers Of man’s identity
Every woman, a Mother-Goddess!
So God be present everywhere
A forever ally Oh Mom
Praying forever you are Omniscient –
So, none preys upon righteous me ..
No stronger bond there is ;
No emotion simply as divine;
No more natural a bondage ;
Source of sustenance in adversities ;
All pain swallowed in love;
Am a blessed soul my Ammaa;
Am not lonely Mother Dear …!

My silent protector par excellence
Shield of Nature forever motherly
Shelter from all woeful aches
All shocks cushioned ever happily
Heaven on Earth – your Noble Heart
God in person – It’s You  Ammaa..!
Godliness in action – your care
Religion in display – all motherliness
Beginning of growth – you Alone
Drinker of all my tears , Mother Dear
Epitome of nobility  – only motherhood
Joyous creation of almighty God
Sacred bond cast upon us
Bound In love of a Mother
Am a blessed soul, my Ammaa
Am Not Lonely Mother Dear..!

Mother dearest  : light of love
Mother sweetest : beacon of hopes
Mother mightiest : strength of lives
Mother noblest : source of confidence
Mother ablest : supreme God’s Presence
Mother, Goddess incarnate , Amma Dear
My Mother dearest – devoted , dedicated
committed, exalted, exemplary – constant, forever Love alone
Mother always endearing – nonstop,endlessly
Alpha to omega – infinitely adorable
Are you alike in all generarions?
Aren’t you awake in whole humanity?
Oh Mother Divine, bless all world
Aren’t all creatures blessed alike?
Oh Mother Supreme , Bless Mothers
Am a blessed soul, my  Ammaa Dear..!

[ From ‘Chasing a Shadow’ by Pamarty VenkataRamana ]

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