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Harvard U To Expand Contacts With India

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, Mar 23 (UNI) Harvard University intends to expand contacts with India and other parts of South Asia, its President Lawrence H Summers indicated today.

Addressing an Education Summit in New Delhi, Prof Summers invited India to draw on the American experience to strengthen its higher education system.

The Summit sponsored by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry also heard a number of leading experts, including Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia.

Prof Summers said the American experience in higher education proved the importance of five factors: competition, flexibility, liberated attitude towards ideas, private philanthropy and fundamental research.

The American professor offered these as the lessons to be learnt from the US experience to strengthen the higher education system in India.

Noting that India attracts less than one per cent of foreign students seeking higher education abroad, Prof Summers said it reflected a huge untapped potential which must be realised to make the nation a global education hub.

Dr Ahluwalia stressed greater spending on higher education, a balanced partnership between public and private sectors and effective incentives to improve standards.

Microsoft India Managing Director Neelam Dhawan called for effective intellectual property laws and a thrust on training issues and fundamental research in science and mathematics.

Ficci President Saroj Kumar Poddar suggested a system in which the government buys a desired number of seats in public as well as private institutes while the rest are ''sold'' at prices that make institutions viable.

National Judicial Academy Director Madhav Menon recounted the experience gained through establishment of National Law Schools which, he said, made law education ''internationally competitive and socially relevant.'' He said, ''the experiment is now two decades old and worth looking into when models are being considered for regulating private higher education in the liberalised regime.'' UNI MJ NK PC1859

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