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Updated: June 10, 2010 03:10 IST

Education Council launch ahead of Obama's visit

Aarti Dhar
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Minister of Human Resource Development Kapil Sibal with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Washington DC. Mr. Sibal said during the meeting both sides agreed theat they should expand collaboration in the educational sector.
PTI Minister of Human Resource Development Kapil Sibal with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Washington DC. Mr. Sibal said during the meeting both sides agreed theat they should expand collaboration in the educational sector.

The Indo-U.S. Education Council — a joint mechanism for facilitating cooperation in the field — is expected to be formally launched during President Barack Obama's visit to India later this year.

Interacting with journalists here on Wednesday after his return from the U.S., Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal said there was a “broad agreement” to move forward as far as the Council was concerned. He said India would probably announce the Council ahead of Mr. Obama's visit and the first meeting could be held while he was in India.

Mr. Sibal discussed the Council, that will facilitate investment by the American institutions in India, with the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who was agreeable to the idea. Both countries will contribute seed fund for the Council. Among other possible things to be taken up during Mr. Obama's visit would be the Innovation Universities on which there have been some discussions but formal deliberations are yet to begin. India plans to set up 14 world class Innovation Universities across the country.

“It is time to recognise each other's degrees that will allow mobility on both sides, and there is huge possibility of investment in skill development and faculty exchange,” the Minister said.

Seeking to convey the enthusiasm over the Foreign Educational Institutions (Regulation of Entry and Operation) Bill, 2010, seeking to allow foreign education providers to set up campuses in the country and offer degrees, Mr. Sibal said the people there were awaiting its passage in Parliament and had lots of queries regarding it.

Pointing out that Indians settled in the U.S. were particularly keen to cooperate with India, the Minister said 25 per cent of the technology companies in the West Coast were being promoted by Indians. “There is willingness to cooperate in education at all levels, including school education particularly with private schools,” Mr. Sibal said.

“Education is one non-divisive area where there are no or few disputes. It is a mutually beneficial area,” he said. President Obama was himself emphasising education and a large part of his package to revive the economy was earmarked for it, he added.

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