Thursday, August 16, 2012

Stage set for new India-US education partnership

Starting this year, as many as 200 American students will come to India’s Central universities and the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) as part of a novel ‘Connect India’ programme planned by the two countries. The University Grants Commission (UGC) will also award 300 Raman Fellowships to Indian students for post-doctoral studies in the US.

The moves aim at deepening the engagement between the two countries as part of the Second Indo-US Higher Education Dialogue. India and the US will also join hands to set up a cyber security cell, education testing services, twinning arrangements and meta-university format engagement with the US varsities. These are among the set of 15 concrete outlines of the Second Indo-US Higher Education Dialogue starting in October this year.

Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal led a 14-member delegation of academicians for participation in talks that were held on June 12 in Washington for a formal approval for the ‘Connect India’ programme which will be coordinated by the UGC and the Central universities. The Vice-Chancellor of JNU will be the key authority handling this project from the Indian side.

Waking up to the real threats that could come from the virtual world, India will later this year set up a Cyber Security Centre with the IIT-Delhi handling it along with the Ministry of Home Affairs. A few US institutions are also expected to assist in the project.

Aiming to boost institutional-level collaboration, the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has already got the UGC to approve regulations to facilitate twinning arrangements between Indian and foreign educational institutions. These will enable tie-ups with foreign institutions without any need for a legislative backing. That apart, the UGC will also initiate the second round of the Manmohan Singh-Barack Obama fellowships and collaborate in education testing services along with the IIT-Kanpur and the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE).

The MHRD will identify ‘Grand Challenge’ areas for research and innovation related collaboration besides in the area of E-learning — a subject highlighted by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — support a US-India Higher Education web portal, host an international seminar on community colleges.

Source: The Indian Express, August 16, 2012

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