Saturday, October 15, 2011

India, US to enhance collaboration in research, skill development

In a bid to strengthen and deepen its strategic partnership with the United States, India will set up a "higher education platform" to enhance collaboration in research, skill development and student and faculty exchange. The announcement came as the first ever India-US Higher Education Summit wrapped up in Washington. Both countries stressed on the need to enhance the scope of collaboration and identify new ways to encourage linkages and exchange programmes.

In a joint statement on higher education cooperation US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and human resources development minister Kapil Sibal agreed to make the higher education dialogue an annual bilateral event to "map out strategies for partnership in the field of education" between the two countries.

The dialogue, which would be held alternately in the US and India, should "identify areas for mutually beneficial exchanges and provide a platform for intense and meaningful collaboration among academia, private sector and government on both sides," the joint statement said. India announced its intention to set up an "India-US higher education platform as a means to pursue these goals," with Sibal pointing out that the dialogue process has to be managed "effectively".

Both Sibal and Clinton were satisfied with the progress achieved under the Obama-Singh 21st Century Knowledge Initiative, launched in 2009. Proposals under the initiative will reviewed by a joint working group for academic awards in support of university partnerships. As part of the partnership, their reiterated their commitment to the Fulbright-Nehru Program and its contribution to leadership development and scholarly achievement and to encouraging an array of collaborations between higher education communities, such as the Yale-India program, for academic leadership and faculty development.

The two sides agreed to work together to ensure a continued expanded US-India higher education dialogue with representatives from government, academia and business that would interact on a regular basis. "Sibal and Clinton reaffirmed the strategic partnership between India and the United States for meaningful dialogue, cooperation, and engagement in the field of higher education," the statement added.

The countries will also join forces to promote strategic institutional partnerships for strengthening and expansion of collaboration in priority areas of higher education, including science and engineering, social sciences, humanities, as well as address societal challenges in areas such as cyber security, energy, environment, health and agriculture, the joint statement said.

Enhanced cooperation in the field of education between the two would also include expansion in research and development, fostering partnerships in vocational education and skills enhancement, exploration of models for 'educational institutions for the 21st Century' and strengthening programmes for student and faculty exchange.

Source: The Economic Times (Online Edition), October 15, 2011

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