Wednesday, June 26, 2013

India, US sign four pacts on education - Move to set up Community Colleges in India

Minister for Human Resource Development M.M. Pallam Raju said that given the size of the student community in the country there was a scope for establishing at least 20,000 community colleges. On Tuesday, four Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) were signed in the educational space during the ongoing India-US Higher Education Dialogue 2013.

He said that there was substantial progress and clarity on how to progress on community colleges. The Ministry is working with the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), to develop a framework for community colleges in the country.

An MoU was signed between the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and the AACC for setting up community colleges in India.

Further, Raju also said that with the transformation that Massively Open Online Courses (MooCs) are bringing in the educational sphere, the Government is planning to focus on this area. An MoU for this has been signed between IIT Bombay and edX, a non-profit entity created by Harvard and MIT that develops higher education content for open online courses.

Besides this there is an effort to enhance teacher capacity development in collaboration with institutes in the US. Raju said that through these initiatives the Government was trying to adopt best practices of teaching and not trying to mirror models in the West.

When asked if the recent move to introduce four-year courses in University of Delhi could be seen as replicating a Western model and whether it would work in India, Raju said the Government was keeping a close watch on the concerns and any lacunae in the course would be sorted out. While addressing concerns that the talks and MoUs signed on Tuesday could be a way of giving foreign institutions a back-door entry, given that the Foreign Education Providers (Regulation) Bill is yet to come to pass, Raju said these are straightforward agreements to encourage both American and Indian students to go to each others’ countries for studies. He said the Bill, which is pending in Parliament, would be tabled in the upcoming session.

Source: The Hindu Business Line, June 26, 2013

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