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Persian Gulf country wants Purdue aviation program

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Purdue University is considering offering its aviation management classes through a school in Qatar that has partnered with several other U.S. universities.

Georgetown, Texas A&M, Cornell and Northwestern are among the schools that offer programs in Education City, an area near the Persian Gulf country's capital, Doha, the Journal & Courier reported Monday.

"Their motivation is to prepare their work force," said Brent Bowen, the head of Purdue's Department of Aviation Technology, who has visited Qatar twice. "It is about trending away from oil and gas. They want to be leaders in knowledge and communication."

Purdue officials are waiting on a draft contract for the Qatar program, but say a foundation there is expected to pay the startup costs.

Purdue would teach aviation management and grant bachelor's and master's degrees. The program teaches business principals for those seeking jobs at airports, airlines and companies manufacturing planes.

The Purdue program in Qatar wouldn't include the pilot training courses that it offers on the West Lafayette campus as those are available elsewhere.

"What we do is basically take our whole degree program and start teaching it," said Gary Bertoline, dean of Purdue's College of Technology. "They are not telling us what type of program or admission standards. That is the beauty of it."

Bowen said he believed Purdue could also start training programs for aviation companies that now have operations in Qatar.

"We also see exchange programs for students and faculty going back and forth," Bowen said.

Officials expect Purdue will hire some additional staff members for the new program and that some faculty members from the West Lafayette campus would spend time in Qatar.

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