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India, US must build educational partnerships: Indian envoy

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"The challenges before us demand an integration of our efforts at home with the partnerships we are developing abroad, and seeking a mutually reinforcing synergy between the two," she said in a keynote Address Monday at the American Council on Education's Leadership Network on International Education.

"As both India and United States work towards becoming truly knowledge economies, there are immense opportunities for forging dynamic linkages between our two countries in the areas of education, research, innovation and skill development," Rao said.

Education, she said, has clearly emerged as a priority area of the two countries' bilateral engagement with the Singh-Obama Initiative launched in 2009 amply highlighting their shared emphasis on education and knowledge in their strategic partnership.

Today, the US remains a preferred destination for Indian students to pursue their advanced degrees, Rao said. Nearly 100,000 students from India, around 32 per cent of whom are women, are enrolled in US universities.

Noting that the US government is also taking several initiatives to promote India as an educational destination for American students, she said: "We would definitely like to see more and more American students come to India in the years to come."

An international conference on community colleges is scheduled to take place in New early next year, she said as India was looking at the US model of Community Colleges as an important ingredient of its strategy to build capacity for vocational education and skills development.

"Our goal is to build strategic linkages between the educational systems of India and the United States, with the optimism and confidence that this would be for our mutual benefit and the benefit of the whole world, as we join hands to develop trained and skilled human resources capable of meeting the challenges that exist in a globalized world of the 21st century."

Noting that there is tremendous interest in US and Indian universities and colleges to forge links and partnerships with each other, Rao said: "There is a great opportunity for partnership unfolding ahead of us, which we must seize."

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)


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