The Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Institut Et Centre D’ Optometrie, France and Lotus College of Optometry, India on September 26. VisionPlus speaks to the heads of the two institutes….
A Memorandum of Understanding was signed at Silmo 2014 between the Institut Et Centre D’ Optometrie (ICO), France and Lotus College of Optometry, India to provide Master of Optometry in India for students from France, and in future to facilitate a PhD programme in France. The programme will be offered in collaboration with Chitkara University, India.
VisionPlus talks to Prema Chande, Incharge, Lotus College of Optometry, and Claude Delhomme, Director of ICO, and learns more about the collaboration…
In conversation with Prema Chande :
VisionPlus (VP) : The Lotus College of Optometry has been dedicatedly promoting the cause of optometric education in India. What do you see as the future of optometric practice in the country?
Prema Chande (PC) : The future of optometric practice in India is fantastic. Considering that uncorrected refractive errors are among the leading causes of avoidable blindness and that we have a population of 1.2 billion and growing, we are going to need a lot more optometrists to combat this situation.
VP : You have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Institut et Centre d’ Optométrie, France at Silmo this year. Why this particular institute?
PC : ICO and Lotus College have had a partnership programme since 2007. Our objectives were different then, we are renewing this with a objective of higher education this time. We also identify with each other as our histories of origin are similar. ICO too, like Lotus, was established by leading members of the French optical trade to promote optometry education in 1917. Their founder, like Late Mr Naval P Baliwalla of Lotus College, was an optometrist, and today, just like Lotus, the next generation continues to actively contribute to the school.
VP : What was the objective behind signing the MoU?
PC : The objective is to promote clinical optometry and higher education in India and France, and ensure that students have a global exposure and learn from best practices.
VP : How will your students benefit from the signing of the memorandum?
PC : Our undergraduates will get to learn from the post graduate students from France, and in the future we can facilitate a PhD programme for Lotus students in France.
VP : What other plans has the college drawn up for the future and how will those benefit its students?
PC : A PhD programme with a good research facility in Vision Sciences is our next plan. This will open up good job opportunities for our graduates in areas of research and development.
VP : How has the experience been at Silmo?
PC : The experience in Silmo is always overwhelming. Our students participate every year at the Academy as part of the ICO partnership since 2011, and the experience is wonderful. Thanks to Silmo, ICO and Visionsolidev for facilitating it.
VP : A word of advice for aspiring youngsters who wish to join the field of optometry?
PC : Optometry is one profession that students will never look back with. They will have many opportunities with this profession, from public health to corporate careers. As professionals, they will enjoy each day of their work.
In conversation with Claude Delhomme :
VP : The optometry field has recently started getting the attention it deserves as a lucrative career. How has this change reflected for institutes such as yours?
Claude Delhomme (CD) : In France, the government is introducing reforms in the professions linked to Vision Health, which the health practitioners want to turn to a collaborative work. At the ICO, we are waiting for changes in legislation and are preparing our students for these developments. Naturally, a majority of our students pursue higher education. The Master of Optometry, offered in partnership with the Lotus College of Optometry, goes exactly in the direction of differentiation and specialisation.
VP : How will your students benefit from the recent signing of the MoU with the Lotus College of Optometry?
CD : It’s an opportunity for our students to specialise in clinical optometry with a rich international experience, and the possibility to discover another culture.
VP : What other initiatives has the institute planned for the future?
CD : At ICO, we are constantly in search of educational innovations; this year we introduced virtual classes, in addition to the practice, particularly for our graduates who have an obligation to train throughout their working lives.
VP : How has your institute’s presence at Silmo helped it to accomplish its objectives?
CD : The ICO is a college which has always been very close to the profession; the Silmo is an important platform for the ICO to strengthen these links, to meet with all the health practitioners and to know new things, both academically with the Silmo Academy and in terms of the latest innovations (material, glasses, etc.).
VP : Any word of advice you would like to give to youngsters who wish to build a career in optometry?
CD : I would suggest that they undertake basic studies and then specialise. They should also learn the practices of other countries, which will allow them to build a good base, and then innovate.
VisionPlus wishes both the colleges all the very best for their endeavours.