Tuesday, June 26, 2012

8 university tie-ups picked for Obama-Singh awards

A series of institutional partnerships aimed at propelling research and training in the field of energy security, climate change, agriculture sciences and health services are part of the Obama-Singh Initiative announced recently. As part of the bilateral education partnership, eight collaborative efforts have been awarded. Among the India-led partnerships include tie-ups between Rutgers University and Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) to establish a national vocational school in India that will eventually train up to 1 million people every year.

The vocational school has been designed to assist up to 80% Indian graduates considered unemployable by multinational companies and to increase the number of young people taking part in formal vocational education and training (just 4% of the population). For India, the most pressing need is to reform its higher education and widen the skill development system, developing scalable solutions that can rapidly enhance the quality and quantity of educational opportunities available to the 550 million Indians under the age of 25.

US-led partnerships include University of Montana and Bangalore University addressing impact of climate change and changes in socio-economic structure on traditional agriculture and development of sustainable communities among indigenous populations. Cornell University with University of Agricultural Sciences , Dharwad and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel University of Agriculture and Technology, Meerut, will work on implementing reformed curriculum in emerging areas of agriculture and food security. University of Michigan has tied up with Maharashtra University of Health Sciences to jointly develop a masters degree for health profession faculty in the US and India. The programme will include public health, nursing, medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, physiotherapy, occupational therapy and Indian systems of medicine.

Other India-led partnerships were between Mahatma Gandhi University and Brown University, Duke University and Plymouth State University to study an interdisciplinary and community oriented approach toward sustainable development. Banaras Hindu University will partner with University of Pittsburgh to research the paradigm shift in energy scenario for the 21st century toward renewable energy sources required for both India and the US. While IIT-Kanpur is expected to join hands with Virginia Tech for an international programme on sustainable infrastructure development, its Delhi counterpart will work on resource building for ecosystem and human health risk assessment with special reference to microbial contamination with Drexel University.

According to the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), each project will receive an award of $250,000 that can be utilized over the three year grant period, with the aim of encouraging mutual understanding , educational reform and economic growth. PM Manmohan Singh and US President Barack Obama had committed $5 million each as part of the endeavour to build an enhanced India-US partnership in education.

Apart from the Obama-Singh Initiative, India has also planned to establish 100 community colleges. It has also announced the C V Raman Fellowship with the first tranche of 300 junior faculty members to be placed for post-doctoral research in American higher education institutions in October. About 10,500 faculty members will be sent over five years.

Source: The Economic Times (Online Edition), June 26, 2012
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