Assistant Secretary Robert Blake: Good afternoon everybody, and welcome back to the Plenary Session from all of your breakout sessions.
We’re very pleased to have with us the Secretary of Education,
Arne Duncan; and of course Minister of Human Resource Development, Kapil Sibal has come back with us; as has the UG Chairman, Mr. Prakash.
I have the great privilege of introducing our next speaker, Secretary Duncan. He is very strongly committed to the importance of preparing America’s youth with the skills that they need to compete and cooperate in a globalized world, certainly a theme we’ve been talking a lot about today.
He is a real advocate for the transformative power of education to contribute to a more peaceful and prosperous world. He’s been the driving force behind his signature Presidential Education Initiatives as the Educate to Innovate and the Race to the Top Early Learning Challenges.
Without further ado, Mr. Secretary, we’re so pleased you could join us. Thank you.
Secretary Arne Duncan: Thank you so much for that kind introduction. I’m thrilled to be back. I had a quick West Coast trip, and I’m glad to be back in DC. I’ve heard it’s been a great conference. Our young people deserve the best in both countries. I think we as adults have to continue to catch up to where they’re pushing us. I appreciate the opportunity to be here.
The U.S.-India Higher Education Summit is supporting educational partnerships that all nations should aspire to empower, and I want to second Secretary Clinton’s vision and support for international partnerships, and our shared understanding that the United States and India mutually benefit from strengthening higher education.
I loved her story of the U.S. and Indian students at Stanford University who, working together, developed the Embrace Baby Warmer, an inexpensive portable baby incubator is now saving the lives of premature and low-weight babies in India.
I share Minister Sibal’s sense of urgency about expanding post-secondary education in today’s knowledge-based global job market. He and Prime Minister Singh are challenging the status quo in India, just as we’re attempting to do here in the U.S.
I’m a big believer in the international exchange programs. They’re not just lofty-sounding programs with abstract benefits. In a global society international exchange programs are economically vital and culturally invaluable. In fact it was at an international scholarship program that 52 years ago brought President Obama’s father to America to study at the University of Hawaii.
I hope your breakout sessions have, as Secretary Clinton urged, served as idea incubators for expanding and enriching the U.S.-India partnership. I understand some promising proposals were discussed like innovative models for developing sustainable business, education partnerships and expanding faculty student exchanges and dual degree programs.
One reason this summit is so timely, so important, is that this international cooperation and collaboration work cannot be taken for granted. Unfortunately, in both the United States and in India there are some who treat these international education partnerships as somehow being a zero-sum game where one country gains a competitive upper hand, instead of treating these partnerships as a win/win proposition for both nations.
Here in the U.S. skeptics of international collaboration warned that the large number of Indian engineering and science students and the proliferation of Indian-born entrepreneurs are actually threats to U.S. workers and American competitiveness. And some Indian leaders similarly view America’s institutions of higher education as a source of brain drain. Despite India’s serious shortage of colleges, universities and vocational training institutes, a number of elected officials have promoted regulations that prevent or limit the development of India-based campuses of leading U.S. institutions of higher education.
I believe the skepticism about the benefits of collaboration are both short-sighted and misguided. In today’s knowledge economy education is a public good, unconstrained by national boundaries. Innovation, manufacturing, and research and development are now borderless to the mutual benefit of all.
The U.S.-India partnership in higher education is a great example. It has a long storied history. The India Fulbright program was established in 1950 in a bilateral treaty signed by Prime Minister Nehru. It has benefited more than 17,000 American and Indian students and nearly tripled in size since President Obama and Prime Minister Singh increased funding for the Fulbright-Nehru partnership in 2009.
The Department of State’s public diplomacy program in India and our department’s program which teaches Hindi, Punjabi and Indian global studies, collectively have more than 12,000 alumni between them. International exchange programs help develop leadership. One Fulbright alumni who studied in the United States, SM Krishna, recently became India’s External Affairs Minister. He is credited with helping turn Bangalore into India’s most celebrated technology hub.
The truth is that the U.S. has gained enormously from Indian students who have come to study here as well. Over the past two decades roughly one million Indian post-secondary students have been educated in the U.S. including more than 100,000 students just in this past year alone. Most of these students were enrolled in graduate programs and three in four study in the critically important stem fields. Indian students contribute an estimated $3.1 billion to the U.S. economy in educational and living expenses and they contribute even more to U.S. competitiveness in science, in technology.
From 1995 to 2005 fully half of the science and technology startups in Silicon Valley have had foreign-born CEOs or lead technologists. Indian immigrants founded a quarter of these startups, more than immigrants from the next four nations combined.
There’s a fundamental misreading of the knowledge economy to interpret the tremendous contribution of Indian students and entrepreneurs to America as somehow being India’s loss or brain drain. Brain gain better captures this higher education partnership.
I say that not just because many Indian-born graduate students educated in the U.S. are now returning to India, but because the work of Indian-born U.S. entrepreneurs reaps benefits in India as well as here. The high tech revolution that Sun Microsystems Co-Founder Vinod Khosla helped start doesn’t stop at the U.S. shoreline. The investments he has made in funding second generation biofuels has the potential to reduce both India’s dependence on fossil fuels and its carbon footprint for generations to come.
As President Obama pointed out when he spoke to the Indian parliament last year, cooperation between Indian and American scientists sparked the Green Revolution. Today U.S. advances in weather forecasting systems are helping Indian farmers save water, to increase productivity, and to limit losses from the monsoon season.
Indian-born U.S. entrepreneurs like Silicon Valley’s Kanwal Rekhi are investing directly in India’s technology sector, and India’s post-secondary institutions. Rekhi, for example, helped establish IIT Mumbai’s new school of information and technology.
It’s true that Apple successfully pioneered the tablet computer, but just last week India’s Education Ministry announced that it was set to produce an internet-ready tablet device for students that will cost only about $50. How revolutionary can that prove to be?
In closing, I want to note that America and India stand to learn so much from one another. Too many Americans today have become complacent about our educational performance and it wasn’t always that way. When America was buffeted by a massive wave of immigration a century ago, parents started a grassroots movement to create free public schools in their communities. In the book Middletown, a classic sociological study of life in Indiana, reported that education then, and I quote, “evoked the fervor of a religion, a means of salvation amongst a large sector of the population.”
Today it’s India where education evokes that hunger and passion, that fervor. Today it’s India where tens of thousands of young adults every year leave their families and communities behind. They climb on a jet plane, many for the first time. They fly thousands of miles across the globe to a strange city to a new campus and a new culture to pursue higher education. Today it’s India that can teach America about how to drive rapid economic growth and the role that education is playing as the game-changer that propels prosperity.
India is reminding us anew that education is the great equalizer. The one force that can help overcome differences in background, in culture, in privilege.
So America can learn from India about how to reinvigorate our hunger for higher education. But India can also benefit from America’s long experience in building a system of higher education. In many respects the American system of higher education is still the best in the world. Our blend of top-ranked research universities, liberal arts colleges, comprehensive state universities and a robust community college system provides an unparalleled access to students of all socioeconomic backgrounds.
All this took time to build. Our higher education system was nurtured and shaped by far-sighted leaders, government action. In the midst of the Civil War President Abraham Lincoln signed the Morrell Act creating our nation’s land grant colleges. In the 20th Century America adopted the tradition of research universities from Germany. But those universities thrived in the U.S. in large part because the government invested heavily in research and medicine, science, energy and technology and awarded research grants through a competitive peer review process free of political interference.
America’s rapid expansion of higher education after 1945 stems from the GI Bill which provided free tuition to war veterans. President Roosevelt signed the GI Bill during World War II in the midst of the Battle of Normandy, and in the fragile aftermath of that deadly war, President Truman helped foster the creation of our nation’s community college system.
As you can see, we all have a lot to learn from each other to our joint and to our mutual benefit. I hope you’ll come away from this summit with a renewed commitment to the U.S.-India partnership in higher education. And I hope you’ll come away with renewed faith that this treasured partnership is absolutely a win/win proposition for both of our nations.
Imagine the future as a contest among states trying to get larger pieces of a finite economic pie for themselves, is a recipe for protectionism and global strife in the information age. But expanding educational attainment everywhere is the best way to grow the pie for everyone. I hope this summit advances that cause.
Thank you so much for having me here this evening.
Assistant Secretary Blake: Thank you, Mr. Secretary, for those very well chosen remarks and for emphasizing the shared benefit of our higher education cooperation. Thank you so much for your leadership and your presence here today.
We’re going to now go to read-outs from each of the breakout sessions, and I’d like to call on representatives of each of the eight sessions in the order in which they were listed in the program.
To save time we’ll just ask you to stand up wherever you are and you’ll be given a microphone. I’d like to ask you to speak between one and two minutes. Since I don’t have a gavel we’ve installed special trap doors under your seats -- [Laughter] -- and if you speak longer than two minutes you’ll disappear.
Without further ado, let me start with the representative on the Student Exchange Panel.
Student Exchange Panel: Thank you. My name is Meredith McQuaid, I’m with the University of Minnesota and I’m also President and Chair of NAFSA, an association of professional educators.
The student exchange group, I will bring up two points from a very lively discussion. The first is that really student exchange doesn’t capture what we’re talking about. It’s really much more about student mobility, students traveling in each direction for a wide variety of reasons through a number of different periods of time.
The second is that the emphasis that seems to have been the case in many discussions these past two days on students traveling to and from the elite or expensive or Ivy League institutions should not be perpetuated. Community colleges and other institutions as the Secretary just referenced in both countries ought to be more fully and more deeply involved in the conversation about how to increase student mobility. Only then will we achieve the kind of balance and access and equity in both countries that is appropriate. However, in order to involve new, more and different players a trusted source of information about study in India perhaps could be more readily available or accessible.
International education has evolved in the United States to the point where those who work with students coming and going are considered to be professionals from whom expectations exist about quality, transparency and ability. There seemed almost universal agreement that this kind of training and attitude about the work of international education staffs should be encouraged and advanced in India. One suggestion is that there perhaps could be a kind of mentorship program between U.S. and Indian staff who serve these populations.
The second point I want to make is we talked about what is the purpose of student mobility and what are the goals. We wanted to talk about is there a number, is there some goal in mind? If there isn’t, we ought to know that. If there is a goal, if there’s a number in mind we ought to know, and if there’s not a number, what is the point in general? Only when we know what our goal is will we know what kind of action to take.
What is the goal in the international experience in general? Is it solving problems? Is it mutual understanding? Or is it a stamp in the passport? We need to know what the institution is providing and for whom. U.S. students studying abroad are increasingly curious about what they will do. What they do abroad will impact their own career choices. We can look at different populations, short term programs which might incorporate faculty members, short term programs that include a skills component, short term programs aimed at adult learners, high school learners, and part-time students.
Three quick suggestions. We might explore how to evaluate existing or new programs in India. What resources currently exist to serve and to train those who work with international populations. And one suggestion was made that we create a kind of forum for discussion of these ideas and dissemination of information for students and about student experiences.
Assistant Secretary Blake: Thank you so much.
Next I’d like to hear from the representative of Faculty Collaboration and Scholarship.
Faculty Collaboration and Scholarship: Good afternoon, I’m [Banka Chendra], Director of the Indian Institute of Management of Bangalore.
Our session which was in faculty collaboration and scholarship largely talked about the motivation behind movement of faculty across two countries. We must stress very strongly that today there is a need to promote and build academics for the future. There is a need to understand that there is [inaudible] of [knowledge] generation that needs to be done across the world in order to solve the challenges of the world in times to come. If we are at all interested in coming closer to solving these problems the academics of the future need to look very different.
In order to do that, there are two suggestions that the group had. One was create a [fund] for setting up of joint degree and joint endowed chairs between institutions in India and the U.S. which would allow [flow] of faculty across the institutions.
Second, it was expressed there are many opportunities for supporting faculty movement across the countries, however there is a need to build an inventory of funding opportunities which would be available to scholars of both countries including leveraging of multilateral opportunities, especially in humanistic social sciences. Thank you.
Assistant Secretary Blake: Thank you so much.
The third session was on Models of Collaboration, Intellectual Footprint and Physical Footprint.
Models of Collaboration: Thank you, I’m Bob Brown, President of Boston University.
In our session we had a very lively discussion with a lot of audience participation, dividing the subject into two pieces. First was intellectual footprint which came down to a very in-depth discussion of twinning programs from both the Indian and U.S. perspective. The big challenge that we saw in the 20 programs is how to make them sustainable long term and scalable. Scalable so that they start meeting the needs, the vast needs that Minister Sibal talked about in terms of education in India. On the incentive side -- [microphone not working] -- U.S. institutions, the programs aren’t totally scalable. There’s a finite number of students that you can take back into the U.S. institutions without changing the character of the institutions.
That brought up a discussion about the opportunity for blended programs. Programs where part of the program was being offered by distance education or online learning which I thought was very interesting.
Also in that discussion was a discussion of the regulatory complexities because these twinning programs require regulatory approval both from the accreditation agencies in the U.S. and the agencies in India at the same time and that is a large overhead for institutions that have only a few programs.
The second discussion was about the physical footprint which we interpreted not to be about bricks and mortar and buildings but about institutions making full commitments, these are U.S. institutions, to open campuses and large programs in India. There was a discussion of that both from the context of U.S. institutions and from the context of how it would be perceived by Indian institutions.
I think the discussion, although there were no real conclusions, showed the enormous complexity of this issue. It also showed the division between public and private institutions in the United States in that the publics and how they would be viewed doing that within the context of their state missions, whereas privates have a little bit more freedom in that regard.
Everyone saw the complexity and opportunity, but I think the one challenge that we really debated right at the end of the session, and we ran out of time, which I think was the most interesting. The question is if U.S. institutions do this, how does it play and impact the vast educational challenge that India has? The Vice Chancellor of the University of Mumbai I think put it very succinctly when he said he has 650,000 students, 650 colleges in which the average student is paying about $100 per year to go to school. What is the role of U.S. institutions coming in of helping bring the quality of education for those kinds of schools and colleges up to an international level which is the challenge. Thank you.
Assistant Secretary Blake: The next session was on Understanding the Environment, Quality Assurance and Governance.
Understanding the Environment: Good afternoon. I’m Assistant Secretary Eduardo Ochoa from the U.S. Department of Education.
Our session started by discussing the landscape for accreditation in both countries. We did a little bit of an overview on that. We focused on the fact that there are challenges posed by the disparate systems to bilateral collaboration or joint degrees, as was mentioned in the previous report. It was observed that U.S. accreditation is not very well suited to international activities by United States institutions of higher education. The strengths of the U.S. accreditation system were identified as being in the area of continuous improvement with some weaknesses in the function of providing a baseline quality assurance function. That’s something that is of course a concern to the Department of Education as we ensure that the very sizeable funds that are devoted to financial aid for students are well spent.
At the end of the session we came out, I pressed the panelists and by the way, we were honored to have on our panel Chairman Ved Prakash with us from India’s University Grants Commission.
The panelists came up with four ideas. One panelist pointed out that at the core of this collaboration it’s the relationships from institution to institution that will drive the work of the U.S.-India partnership.
A second idea was advanced that the future will belong to the global university that centers the education on the student, and the new generation of students really think of the world as their oyster, their arena of action, so the global university has to similarly transcend national boundaries. This is a new model. Rather than having institutions be nationally based and collaborating across borders, it would be a question of globalizing the university itself.
The third idea was that sub-baccalaureate; post-secondary education is really the area where the U.S. experience can perhaps help India the most. We’re talking here about the role of community colleges in the U.S. higher education system.
The last observation that was made was that in order to achieve progress in accreditation and governance, in terms of the U.S.-India collaboration, we would have to focus on common parameters in both countries when looking for best practices.
Assistant Secretary Blake: The next session was on National Development and Solving Global Challenges.
National Development: I’m [inaudible] from the Indian Institute of Technology. We had a very energetic discussion on this question of national development and solving global challenges.
First of all, I think there was interest across all the members of both the panel and the audience that there is interest on both sides, faculty and students in contributing to national development and solving global challenges. Both groups, student and faculty, would like to make an impact in today’s world and I think it’s a very important way to make impact.
There was also consensus that solving these kinds of challenges and meeting these kinds of development needs, it does require collaboration. Many of the issues really are in developing countries and in that it’s critical to understand the local context -- institutional, cultural, societal, economic and so on, and therefore working together is absolutely critical to meeting these challenges. So collaboration becomes very important.
Also building capacity for the long term. Both human resource capacity as well as educational capacity.
Given this interest, then the next question was how do we best do that and there there was consensus in the group that it would be useful to have a mechanism that really facilitates this kind of collaboration on these issues. And probably to start with the most useful is to have some kind of pool of funds, possibly public and private together, that really is focused on the problem-oriented collaboration between researchers and students from both countries, bringing together people from different disciplines that is necessary to solve these kinds of problems.
It was felt that this kind of a mechanism would reduce transaction costs and facilitate collaboration.
So basically I think groups on both sides it was felt would have the motivation, individuals and institutions, would have the motivation to work together on these challenges and I think such a mechanism would provide both the means and the opportunity to do so.
Assistant Secretary Blake: Thank you. The next session was on Academia-Industry Linkages, Building Relationships Through the Private Sector.
Academia-Industry Linkages: I’m Vivek Wadwha. I’m with Duke, Harvard, Emory and a couple of other universities.
We had a pretty interesting discussion starting off with my view that the best thing for India is not to replicate the American model. It’s deeply flawed, it’s imperfect, it’s dated. It needs updating on its own.
Then we got into a discussion about why would Indian industry be interested in working with academia, and why would academia be interested. The conclusion essentially was that what industry gains from it is better output. It’s dependent on the talent that comes from universities. What the universities gain from it is better input, they are more responsive to the country’s needs. It’s a win/win in both ways.
How do you do it? We discussed lots of ideas. We didn’t come to firm conclusions but essentially they centered around replicating some of the good things of America where you have industry labs on campuses, where you have leading companies providing their executives to work in universities and learning more about the system and having a positive effect on it. Having faculty work with industry, having students work with industry. We didn’t elaborate on the notion of internships, but that was another great concept that could be applied from how things practically do work in America where they work well. It’s to get students involved with industry.
Assistant Secretary Blake: Our next session was on Enabling Innovation and Promoting Economic Growth.
Enabling Innovation: I’m [inaudible], Chairman of [X Center] in India.
Our group discussed about enabling innovation and how does that promote economic growth. We didn’t come to any conclusion, but there were a lot of great ideas. We probably could have discussed this for the entire day or more. I think we discussed two broad topics. One was how do universities enable innovation. In this we discussed examples from Stanford to IIT Mumbai where they have an innovation lab, to Steve Jobs, Bill Gates. I think if you look at it, it is recognizing the fact that innovation is about disruption. It is not necessarily natural to higher education institutions. If you look at examples of innovation, they have happened elsewhere in some sense[inaudible]. But also what it is is about the need to promote entrepreneurship and to collaborate to foster innovation. I think this is a role that universities can definitely play by incubating some of these things.
Secondly what we discussed is how we can bring in innovation in the higher education institutes themselves, and this is about, discussing a lot of examples, in terms of how do you do long term development? How do you do knowledge generation? It’s not just about knowledge management, but knowledge generation. Making higher education accessible to the masses. Taking higher education, bringing higher education to people rather than bringing people to higher education. We talked about the different models in terms of delivery that can enable that.
Also about inclusiveness. And importantly, how do you make it cost effective?
The key challenge is how do we innovate, how do you bring in innovation in higher education and to me the significant demand, and very importantly to be able to scale it up, to bring higher education to the masses.
Even if there weren’t any conclusion, but I think there were enough examples where if you were to look at those examples and bring it together, piece them together, I think that’s a very good starting point in fact.
Also we had in our panel Phil from one of the venture capital firms. I think we have seen this thing in numerous examples that right now the private sector is getting involved in coming up with models that will really meet the demand using technology to be able to bring innovation into higher education. I think private and public partnership is probably a model that would promote innovation in higher education.
Thank you very much.
Assistant Secretary Blake: The last session was on Partnerships for Work Force Development and Expanding Access.
Partnerships for Work Force Development: My name is RCM Reddy, I’m the Chairman of the Skill Development Forum.
The focus in our session was on taking action. At the end of the session the Vice Chancellor of Mumbai University and the Chancellor of Kapi’olani Community College of University of Hawaii, actually exchanged notes, in which Mumbai University will be teaching on-line [math] to the students of community college. In lieu of that the community college will assist Mumbai University in setting up a community college under Mumbai University. That symbolize the partnership.
And there was unanimous view and very strong recommendation that EEE, that is Engagement for Enhancing Employability should be the key theme of, one of the key themes of Indo-U.S. engagement on higher education. We set an action agenda. Five broad initiatives have been identified.
To begin with, recognize and recommend that industry should take the lead. About half a dozen high growth knowledge intensive sectors like [life sciences], agro and food processing industry, logistics, IT enabled [services] and employment intensive, hydro, knowledge intensive. And we need to forge partnerships between U.S. companies and Indian companies through chambers of commerce of a kind of sectoral consortiums which will eventually be linked to the skill development councils being set up [under an inaudible] in India.
The second recommendation [and action identified], can we set up 100 community colleges which are duly customized to Indian situation and high growth industrial clusters that will serve the local community and local industry through partnership between a local industrial association and a cluster, or industry, and leading [university and state inaudible]. You will be very happy to know, sir, that [inaudible], the Mumbai University Vice Chancellor [inaudible], they offered to set up ten such community colleges each. Probably this number of 100 will require [redivision] when we get there.
The third is promoting institution to institution, business to business partnerships for creating content, teachers training, and [assessment and ] certification accreditation. There is a huge business opportunity for private sector institutions on both sides.
A fourth was establish leadership development programs for principals and directors of vocation and education institutions on the lines similar to the university [inaudible] that have been done with [inaudible], similar things could be done in partnerships with some community colleges.
The fifth, explode the business opportunities for [reskilling and retraining] which his mutually [beneficial]. Thank you very much.
Assistant Secretary Blake: Thank you very much. Again, I’d just like to thank all of the moderators of our panel for your terrific leadership and for taking the time out to make this a reality. So thank you very much.
Assistant Secretary Blake: We’re going to depart from our agenda for just one second to accommodate a speaker who was to have participated in the first roundtable this morning, but due to circumstances beyond his control he couldn’t make it. But since he’s come all the way from India and since he usually has pretty good things to say -- I can say that, he’s a friend of mine -- we’re going to just give him a few minutes. His name is Hari Bhartia. He’s the co-chairman and managing director of Jubilant Life Sciences. So Hari, welcome.
Mr. Hari Bhartia: Thank you. Thank you, Bob. Sorry I missed the session in the morning. I learned, I was educated a lot about the security system in London last night. [Laughter].
We were in Davos the beginning of this year and we were asked a very strange question, if India is growing at eight to nine percent, that means it is going to double, the economy is going to double every seven years. So how are we building the capacity to double the economy every year? I think in the last ten years government has spent a huge amount of resources on inclusiveness and a large part of that is the education system. Which is about skilled manpower, of course, building talent for innovation and then entrepreneurship which we talked a lot about today.
But since there is a lot of conversation on innovation and involvement of industry I just want to say one thing, that in the early, in 1990 India opened up to competition and I think that was the biggest change that the Indian industry could see because it opened them to worldwide competition. And when you have competition you are forced to innovate, and that’s when Indian industry started to invest into research and development and was starting to do cutting edge work. Thanks to that I think our own ecosystem started to evolve, with Indian academia starting to look at industry to partner, to do really high quality research work. I think that was a big change.
The second thing that changed was higher investment of the government on the grant money I think which came into the higher education system to really do the basic research.
Thirdly, a large number of people came from the U.S. from the graduate education program. Secretary Duncan talked about it. I think that added a huge level of experience in terms of innovation and entrepreneurship. I can give you an example.
Our company has almost 1200 people doing research. Out of that almost 150 of them have come from the U.S. education system with the experience in U.S. They have brought in the best practices of drug discovery, and today I am proud to say that India is now slowly become a center for high end drug discovery.
On the opposite side, the U.S. companies have now come up and set up research labs and they are starting to do very high level of innovation. When you come and do research in India, when U.S. companies come and do it, they do it for the local market. There is a huge amount of I would say frugal innovation, products which are designed at a very low cost providing very high value for the local customers. And those products are not only being used in India, Africa, and now going back to the developed markets because they also need products at a very low cost. So I think the collaboration is starting to work.
Lastly I must say because we have invested a lot in U.S., almost half a billion dollars in the pharmaceutical industry here, I consider that the ecosystem that has evolved in terms of innovation and entrepreneurship where industry, venture capitalists, academia, the way they work in terms of translating basic science into commercial products, I think that’s the big learning that the Indian institutions can take back home.
Thank you. Thank you very much.
Assistant Secretary Blake: Thank you, Hari.
Let me now invite Professor Ved Prakash who is the Chairman of the University Grants Commission to make his remarks.
Dr. Ved Prakash: Honorable Union Minister for Human Resource Development Kapil Sibal; respected Secretary, Mr. Duncan; respected Ambassador Mr. Bob; ladies and gentlemen.
First of all I would like to submit to all of you that it has indeed been a very wonderful and a very meaningful exercise. In brief I’m going to reflect only on seven broad areas of collaboration.
India has taken the initiative of sponsoring 1,500 faculty and [union] scholars to different American universities for capacity development. The government of India is proposing to develop an institutional mechanism to facilitate the selection and the placement of such faculty and union scholars. India would like to have a database of the U.S. universities desiring to host Indian faculty in different disciplines.
Indo-U.S. collaboration in higher education has to be strengthened significantly to encompass joint degree programs, dual degree programs, twinning programs, credit transfer, joint collaborative research degree programs. Possibilities may also have to be explored for peer to peer [matter] alliances amongst institutions of higher learning between the two countries.
The list of active institutions of higher education in United States may have to be published and updated regularly in order to make Indian students to make informed decisions to pursue different kinds of programs available on the campuses of the American universities. The equivalent national regulatory framework in the countries may have to be recognized and respected, and while respecting the regulatory framework prevalent in both countries it is necessary to have quality assurance framework for joint academic activities which institutions from both sides would like to pursue.
The global challenges such as climate change, global warming, renewable energy, community health, et cetera, may have to be addressed to academic collaborations. Universities and industry of both countries will need to work together to find cost effective solutions for these global challenges.
University-industry relations in the field of education is an opportunity for higher educational institutions in both countries. Industry from U.S. and India need to come together to work with Indian universities in the arena of designing the curricula, setting up labs, and using universities as resource centers to find innovative solutions for industry. Examples of industry initiatives like that of Chevron, Boeing, DCS, Intel and Microsoft in this regard in U.S. are worth trying on the campuses of the Indian institutions of higher learning. Collaboration between innovation and incubation centers, both U.S. and Indian universities need to be established and strengthened and economic programs in the area of innovation and entrepreneurship should be promoted on Indian campuses under the Indo-U.S. umbrella of activities.
Lastly, the U.S. collaboration for establishing new generations of community colleges focusing both on the technical and service sector may have to be explored and supported. This may include offering credit-based vocational educational programs and credit transfers between the institutions of both the countries.
With these brief remarks, now I will request the Honorable Minister Kapil Sibal to make his final observations. So over to Mr. Kapil Sibal.
Minister Kapil Sibal: Secretary Duncan, Ambassador Bob Blake, Mr. Ved Prakash, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen.
As I stand here I am reminded of the famous words of Confucius. He said if you want to plan for a year, sow a seed. If you want to plan for ten years, grow a tree. If you want to plan for 100 years, educate the people.
So this bilateral relationship, this meeting today, this summit today, is not for a year, not for ten years, but for 100 years. If we actually approach each other in that context I think we will be able to evolve a relationship which is meaningful and a win/win for both.
First of all I want to thank the moderators for having given us an insight into the dialogue that has been taking place while we were away in the break-away sessions. And what do I see? I see that the lay of the land is very complex. It’s not easy to collaborate, it’s not easy to move forward, it’s not easy to get the scalability that we desire. But at the same time I get the feeling that there is an honest effort being made on both ends to actually use this as an opportunity to move forward, so I think that’s really a win/win in the sense that we are ready to move together. That’s what I take away from this particular meeting.
Number two, coincidentally, Sam, I find that lots of people are not in the hall today. Perhaps they got worried by the fact that the professors of the future might lose their jobs and they’ve gone out looking for jobs. [Laughter]. The point that I was making was that it’s time we realize that it’s not going to be easy. This is not going to be, collaboration at this level and that scale is not going to be easy. Because when you talk about mobility, what do you mean by mobility? The nitty-gritty is that you have to start recognizing, mutually recognizing, your degrees. Otherwise there [can be no mobility]. That’s not a process that’s going to happen tomorrow.
Number two, even if we were to recognize your degrees, you need to make sure that your semester system actually works in tandem with the nature of subjects you offer and the syllabi that you offer at both ends somehow deals with concerns at both ends which are mutually beneficial. That’s an institutional to institutional arrangement. That’s not easy.
Number three, you must make sure that people go to school at the same time and have a vacation at the same time. Otherwise you’re not going to be able to work the system well.
So there’s a lot of stuff to be done before we reach a stage where we actually scale this up at any level. But what we can do, and this is what’s demonstrated by the representative of [FRICI], when you already see industry and the university system collaborating with each other, and that’s where we can actually scale it up because the university requires skilled manpower. That’s the need of the university. Sorry, the industry. The university is ready to provide that manpower for them to be skilled, and suddenly, therefore, at the first meeting you have a collaborative arrangement by which Mumbai has decided to set up community colleges and two other vice chancellors present here decided to set up and committed themselves to ten community colleges. This has happened because both sides, both industry and the university system realized that one has got the capital and the need for skills, the other has got the manpower but the hunger to acquire skills. Therefore the interests of both match immediately and you have instant results.
So this is the complexity. On the one hand we have to match our systems, on the other hand you can get instant gratification by getting instant solutions because the needs of both sides match. But in between there is a very complex terrain that has to be crossed.
So I didn’t expect that at the first summit this would happen. But I am going away with a sense of hope that both sides are purposefully engaged. And when we meet in New Delhi in 2012 we will have actually traversed a long way and figured out substantial programs wherein we can actually move forward and work together. That’s the take that I have.
But let me give you a piece of advice before I go back. For those of you who want to set up stand-alone institutions in India, my advice to you is that out there in India there are a lot of entrepreneurs like Hari Bhartia who are ready to set up institutions in India. So you don’t have to invest the initial capital. We will persuade Hari Bhartia to buy some land for you. We should persuade Hari Bhartia to set up the infrastructure. So you have the land and the infrastructure without spending a dollar. Then you can bring to India the best practices, technology, manpower, highly qualified manpower and collaborate with highly qualified human skills available in India and set up a university or set up a stand-alone institutions. That’s a good economic model with which you can work and there are lots of people in India who are ready actually to set up institutions on the basis of that model because that reduces the risk at your end because I know that within the American system it’s very difficult for them to persuade that your dollars should be spent in India to set up, to buy land in India and to set up infrastructure in India. That’s going to be a Herculean task at your end. So being sensitive to your concerns, I realize that the best economic model is the one that I have suggested to you and that can work. There are lots of institutions that can be set up. That’s one model.
The other model, that’s a simpler model, is the community colleges. Because there the need of the industry in India is huge because we have to develop 500 million skilled people by 2022. While the economy is growing at eight percent, the fact of the matter is that if we continue to grow at eight percent we’ll not have the manpower to sustain that growth. So the need of the Indian economy is to rev up skills in India as quickly as possible.
At that scenario where the American entrepreneur can easily invest because lots of people here can provide certification courses, diploma courses, for skill development. That can be actually financed and these will be courses which will be paid for. So in a sense this is not something that’s going to happen free.
So there’s a lot of opportunity in the area of skill development which can happen very quickly. For that you can set up community colleges as a reflection in the decision that already has been taken.
So these are two areas where we can actually move very quickly.
On the research side, on the basic research side I think the model that Hari Bhartia mentioned to you is a wonderful model to work on because what’s happening today is that the cost of research in the Western world is unaffordable. And therefore for the same investment in dollars you get research at a much lower cost in India and you have a huge high quality human resource base. So if you’re really looking at basic research and high quality research, then the thing to do is to have institutional arrangements, and this doesn’t require the passing of any bills in parliament immediately because nobody is awarding degrees here. So you can have inter-institutional arrangements for high quality research and make investments in educational institutions in India which will give you the necessary skilled manpower to do the research, which in turn will bring about benefits to both ends for the simple reason that whatever comes out of that research will ultimately be translated into goods and services at a much lower cost than it can be done in this part of the world. So there’s another opportunity that is available.
I’m giving you practical ways to move forward as we discuss the myriad of issues and the complexity of the nature of this relationship and how universities will move forward together with each other. There are issues on which we can actually move forward without much ado.
So I thank everybody for being here. I thank Secretary Duncan for being here. It was great to be with Secretary Clinton this morning. She gave us a vision and the nature of how this relationship should move forward.
I will end with a story about Stanford, about the young students at Stanford that I have myself experienced.
I went to Stanford a few years ago when I was Minister for Science and Technology. And I was talking to some students and suddenly I realized that some of them were building materials for protecting poor people who live in shanty huts in India. The material that they had actually were producing was taking newspapers, just newspapers, and making them go through a process through which the product that emerged ultimately was very low cost, and could be put on roofs of huts so that they don’t leak at the time when the monsoon comes about.
This again was because those children actually traveled to India. They traveled to India, they saw what was happening in India. How during the monsoon session people are not protected. And having appreciated the problems of the ground, which is what I was talking about earlier in the morning, they came back to Stanford and produced a solution which they were actually then contacting companies to be able to scale it up as a product to be sold at very low cost.
This story tells you that you can’t find those solutions unless you are in situ discovering yourself what the problems are. And therefore if you really want to scale up this relationship, this bilateral relationship, and solve the problems of tomorrow and the grand challenges that both countries in the global community faces, then you have to be where the problem is. Unless you are where the problem is, you’ll never be able to find the solution.
So my request to you is that this relationship will move forward only if we are with you to solve the problems you have here, and you stand with us in India to solve the problems that we confront and our population confronts in India. Thank you very much and all the best.
Assistant Secretary Blake: Thank you, Mr. Minister, Secretary Duncan, Mr. Chairman, and most of all thanks to all of you for coming today and helping to make this summit, this first-ever summit a success. We really thank all of the university chancellors and vice chancellors who came from so far, the American university presidents, members of the private sector, foundations, NGOs, and so many others who have contributed so many wonderful ideas and suggestions today.
I have to say we’re not done with you and you’re not done with us, I hope. We’ve got a lot of work to do.
A lot of people have asked, what about the follow-up? So let me just elaborate a little bit on what the Minister said.
The next step will be for us and for our partners in the Ministry of External Affairs and at the Ministry of Higher Education to compile all the wonderful suggestions that were made today and to try to think through sort of an action plan of next steps. Anne Stock who you met earlier today, our Acting Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy, will be going out to Delhi in November, sorry, early December, to meet with all of her counterparts and really discuss an action plan and a way forward. Not just between our two governments, but also how each of our governments can work with our relevant institutions, our universities, our foundations and others, and again, carry forward with all of your suggestions.
We will then start preparing for the higher education dialogue that Minister Sibal and Secretary Clinton will chair next year. The model for that is both a government to government dialogue but also importantly, to have that government be informed by the advice of all of you. So each year we will have one of these dialogues usually grouped around a specific theme. And we will have, we will be sure to include the relevant representatives of the academic institutions, the private sector, NGOs, and others to make sure that that theme is properly informed by the needs of all of you. That’s a very successful model that we’ve followed it in many of our other dialogues between the United States and India, and I’m sure it will have the same kinds of successes here.
We beg your indulgence to continue to work with us. Unfortunately for you we have all of your emails so we know how to get a hold of you. We’re going to also create some sort of social media web site or some mechanism by which we can carry on this conversation, put up some of these ideas and then continue to hear from you and from others about how we can move forward so that this is not just a one-off event.
I also just want to say a few words of thanks for so many others who have done so much here to help. First for my team, Deputy Assistant Secretary Jim Moore really led a lot of the preparations through this. He’s been working for literally months along with our very very dedicated public diplomacy team in the South and Central Asian Affairs Bureau. Dr. Molly Teas, our Senior Education Advisor, Anne Stock, and of course the entire wonderful team of the Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs. Many of you have seen them today and heard from them. But I’d like to particularly thank Senior Advisors David Plack who really was a true hero in preparing all of this. Of course we have to thank Ambassador Rao and her wonderful team here; Ambassador Singh, her capable deputy; and Naveen Srivastava who again worked extremely long hours and did a wonderful, wonderful job to help in so many parts of this preparation. And last but not least my partner in crime, my counterpart in the Ministry of External Affairs, Joint Secretary Jawed Ashraf who is always such a terrific partner on so many things and also have been such a great leader working with us and working with the Ministry of Higher Education to help all of these preparations today.
I’d like to just close by inviting Carol Lancaster, the Dean of Georgetown School of Foreign Service, to make some final closing remarks. Dean Lancaster?
Dean Carol Lancaster: Thank you very much.
I’m sorry I can’t see over this podium. We have a box here that we call the Madeleine Albright box. She has the same problem. But the box is not here right now.
Secretary Duncan, Minister Sibal, Assistant Secretary Blake, Chairman Prakash and delegates and friends, it’s been a special pleasure for us at Georgetown University to be able to host this very important conference. I think from everything I’ve heard during the day that it has been substantive, it has been productive, and it has been provocative. I think those are all good things.
We look forward to the work that we all have before us to increase our engagement from the United States in India and from India in the United States, and we are just so pleased to be able to have helped a little bit today in hosting this conference.
I won’t repeat the thank you’s, I think you’ve done a very good job Assistant Secretary Blake. We’re very grateful, and knowing that the only thing that stands between you and your reception is me, I am going to say safe travels home, and we look forward to engaging with all of you in the future. Thank you.