India-US pledge to take education cooperation forward

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Kapil Sibal
Washington, Oct 14: India said it will set up a "higher education platform" aimed at taking forward the dialogue process with the US on enhancing collaboration in research, skill development and student and faculty exchange as the first ever India-US education summit wrapped up in Washington.

In a joint statement on higher education cooperation released at the conclusion of the summit, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Minister for Human Resources Development 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".

"We want a physical set up with a portal through which we at our end can carry the dialogue forward," he later told reporters at a reception hosted by Indian Ambassador to the US Nirupama Rao.

He said the platform would help identify and connect US institutions with suitable Indian educational partners.

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.

PTI

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