Institutions of higher education in India are looking to restructure the syllabi of the main subjects and also offer value-added ones in order to prepare Indian students for higher education abroad or employment overseas.
The situation in the Unites States is also not too different, according to Michael P. Pelletier, Minister-Counsellor for Public Affairs, the U.S. Embassy, New Delhi.
Speaking to The Hindu on the sidelines of the three-day 40th annual conference of the Indian Association for American Studies (IAAS), jointly organised by the U.S. Consulate General, Chennai, and Bharathiar University, in Coimbatore recently, he said it was not only necessary to teach and train students of India, but also those in the U.S., to become citizens of the globe.
“It is a major challenge. And, this challenge can be overcome only by building on the mutual strengths of both the countries,” Mr. Pelletier said.
Pointing out that there was an incredible growth in the number of educational partnerships existing between the Indian and U.S. institutions, he said there were already 120-odd ones in addition to those in the offing. These would result in many public-private-partnerships at the micro level.
“Such partnerships will make it possible to foster the Indo-U.S. educational ties even without the intervention of the government.”
Mr. Pelletier said that since the number of partnerships was on the rise, a special office was set up at the United States-India Educational Foundation (USIEF), New Delhi, to keep track of the different types of memoranda of understanding and tie-ups.
“India leads the world in sending students to the U.S. There are more than a crore students studying in the U.S. There are also American students coming to India for higher education. Most of them come to learn the languages,” Mr. Pelletier added.
The USIEF had also given grants to enable as many as 250 candidates going in both directions to study. These grants were being extended to newer areas of study and research, he said.
Making a mention of the education “Reform Bills”, namely, Foreign Educational Institution (Regulation of Entry and Operation) Bill 2010, the Prohibition of Unfair Practices in Higher and Medical Educational Institutions and Universities Bill 2010, the National Authority for Regulation in Accreditation of Higher Educational Institutions Bill 2009, and the Setting up of a National Education Tribunal, he said they sent out a clear message to the world community that India was interested in forging international partnerships in higher education.
“The world universities are waiting to see what will be the outcome of these Bills. This and the visit of U.S. President Obama to India in November are expected to take the Indo-U.S. educational partnerships to the next level,” Mr. Pelletier said.
Keywords: Michael P. Pelletier, Indian Association for American Studies, Foreign Educational Institution (Regulation of Entry and Operation) Bill 2010, Prohibition of Unfair Practices in Higher and Medical Educational Institutions and Universities Bill 2010, National Authority for Regulation in Accreditation of Higher Educational Institutions Bill 2009, National Education Tribunal