printable banner

U.S. Department of State - Great Seal

U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

2011 Summary of Proceedings


Oct 13, 2011 - Washington, D.C.

Other than remarks made by State Department officials, the views captured below do not reflect the opinion or policy of the U.S. Government.

Welcome and Opening Remarks

Secretary Clinton:

· The importance of a global education for young Americans and Indians “in a world more connected and more interdependent than ever.”

· India and the U.S. are natural partners as democracies, with societies that thrive on diversity and creativity, depend on innovation and knowledge-based industries, and understand that education is key to tapping individual potential and lifting communities.

· Increased collaboration with India includes: the Obama-Singh 21st Century Knowledge Initiative’s $10 million commitment for university partnerships and junior faculty development; a tripling of the Fulbright-Nehru program over three years; an expansion of EducationUSA advising services; and the new Passport to India program which will engage the private sector to provide internships for young Americans in India.

· Collaboration and the breaking down of institutional barriers are critical for our shared future.

Minister Sibal:

· Industry, academia, and government are partners in achieving the education goals of the U.S.-India Strategic Partnership. He noted that the “U.S. defined the milestones of the 20th century” and that India is a “defining story-line of the early 21st century.”

· Today’s challenges are qualitatively different from the past in their global reach. “The global economy will not be defined by financial flows and trade but by global, collaborative, knowledge networks.”

· It is imperative that India’s young have access to affordable education. India must provide access to educational opportunities, reduce financial barriers, and ensure quality with accountability.

· Academia, industry and policymakers should embrace the challenge of working together to provide global education and prosperity.

Roundtable: Strategic Vision and Achievable Steps:

· Collaborations offer enormous potential for developing individuals, societies, and nations.

· Looking ahead to 2022:ith three centuries of history between the U.S. and India, educational exchanges are part of the future plan as well.

· The study of India at U.S. institutions is currently under-resourced.

· Meeting the skill requirements of contemporary industries should be a focus for the future.

· Doing more with less, innovative use of new technologies such as cloud-computing, and collaboration to develop community colleges, are all essential.

Plenary Session: Getting Started: Foundations for Sustainable Partnerships in Teaching and Research

· There are currently far more Indian students studying in the U.S. than Americans studying in India. Each group has different goals - Indian students seek degrees from U.S. schools while U.S. students participate in short-term study programs for credit.

· Expanding the study of India on U.S. campuses, even through an interdisciplinary approach, would inspire more U.S. students to study in India.

· Sustaining partnerships requires clear objectives and an established framework. Faculty exchanges and dedicated institutional support are key elements in long term relationship building.

Luncheon Guest of Honor: Nirupama Rao, Indian Ambassador to the United States

· U.S. involvement was key in the early stages of development of India’s higher education institutions.

· The positive role of linkages that benefit both societies, such as: Partnerships between new Indian institutions and U.S. land grant universities; more than 4,000 Peace Corps volunteers; and, more than 16,000 Fulbright scholars who have contributed to higher education and broader people-to-people ties.

· Contributions by Indians in the United States in driving the U.S.-India relationship, such as in the fields of energy, science, technology and innovation (three of the last twelve “U.S. Presidential Medal of Honor for Science and Innovation” recipients were of Indian heritage).

· The Diaspora can play a role to help encourage greater engagement by U.S. universities in India.

Keynote Address: Ambassador Richard Celeste

· The historical role of U.S.-India ties in developing higher education in both countries.

· The positive influence linkages between institutions and people have had more broadly on economic growth, and collaboration on innovation and technology.

· Need more creative and more proactive approaches to meeting challenges such as a reduction in public resources for higher education in the U.S. and the bureaucratization and politicization of higher education in India.

· A lack of symmetry in our educational systems presents challenges, such as pairing a private U.S. resource base with a public Indian resource base, and the absence of a community college system in India to pair with that in the U.S.

· Institutions and governments, generally resistant to change and traditionally bureaucratic, should seek linkages to adapt to the changing needs of students who are increasingly global and service-oriented, less constrained by formal programming options, and seek to be competitive in global job markets.

Breakout Session Series I

U.S.-India Higher Education: The Partnership Environment

1.1 Student Exchange

· Student exchange is really student mobility. There is a need to broaden the horizons of international students beyond elite institutions of higher education in the U.S. and a need to increase the number of Americans studying in India.

· Community colleges and other institutions should be more fully involved in the conversation about how to increase exchanges and achieve balance. For U.S. students, study abroad is now almost an expected part of a student experience, increasingly at the community college level.

· There are trusted sources of advice for students. It is important to know what institutions can provide, and for whom, including at the local level. The group suggested a forum to discuss ideas further.

· Programs should consider student goals for study abroad such as addressing global challenges, enhancing mutual understanding, obtaining degree credit or a degree, or skills development. U.S. students are increasingly attuned to how study abroad impacts their futures.

· Institutions in both countries could do more to create alternative study-abroad opportunities such as short-term programs for adult learners, high school students, or part-time students.

1.2 Faculty Collaboration and Scholarship

· There is a lack of funding available for faculty exchanges and collaboration, with the majority of funding available for science and technology as opposed to the humanities.

· There is a need to develop global scholars in both countries. The majority of U.S. scholars in India are in the field of humanities. India would like to become a destination for scholars based on subject expertise across a breadth of disciplines.

· There is a need to develop more joint degree programs.

1.3 Models of Collaboration: Intellectual Footprint and Physical Footprint

· “Intellectual footprint” includes twinning programs, joint degree programs and other opportunities for students to study and receive credit from colleges and universities in both countries. Challenges include sustainability and scalability, and how to institutionalize what are frequently individual efforts, as well as accreditation and residency issues.

· “Physical footprint” includes branch campuses and opportunities to build facilities and hold classes in the other country. Challenges include long-term commitment of human and financial resources to increase the presence of U.S. institutions in India.

· How will U.S. institutions impact the vast challenges that India faces and what role do U.S. institutions play in bringing quality to Indian institutions.

· Suggestions included creating mid-level institutions in India that could train large numbers of Indian students (not only the elite), with U.S. institutions assisting by providing content and training to Indian faculty through distance learning technology. The U.S. perspective in engaging with India needs to be considered.

1.4 Understanding the Environment: Quality Assurance and Governance

· The accreditation process presents challenges and affects collaboration between institutions in the U.S. and India, although different accreditation processes in each country should not be a barrier for collaboration.

· Organizations involved in the U.S. accreditation process are independent and non-governmental. Their goal is quality assurance for institutions and programs. We need common parameters in both countries to establish best practices in governance.

· The institution-to-institution relationship should drive the activities and work. The future will be centered on the student within a global university and community colleges will play a key role.

Breakout Session Series II: Looking to 2020

2.1 National Development and Solving Global Challenges

· To develop solutions to address the broad range of today’s global challenges the approach should be interdisciplinary, intersectoral, and intergenerational.

· Progress has been made in the last decade to promote partnerships addressing global issues, especially in the health field. Ease of technology transfer and greater ability to handle intellectual property issues have made forming research consortia easier for stakeholders.

· Understanding the local context makes partnerships essential to addressing global issues such as climate change, global health, sustainable use of natural resources, and poverty eradication.

· Suggestions included creating a funding mechanism to promote partnerships, better utilizing existing interest among students and faculty who want to make a global impact, as well as finding more ways to engage the private sector to support research partnerships.

2.2 Academia-Industry Linkages: Building Relationships through the Private Sector

· Discussion focused on how to ensure that Indian students are better prepared to enter the workforce effectively after graduation, especially regarding technical training.

· India has had much success with the model of Indian IT firms offering post-graduate training for their employees.

· The IT industry, health care, and the hospitality industry are all possibilities for partnering with academic institutions to create programs that would give practical experience to students.

· There should be more focus on how to incorporate industry investment in education, research linkages, and internships with the goals of increasing student employability, increasing productivity of new employees after graduation, and encouraging frugal innovation.

· Business skill requirements should be more considered in curriculum development, and business experience should be better incorporated into academia.

2.3 Enabling Innovation and Promoting Economic Growth

· Universities play a major role in promoting innovation and economic growth by imparting knowledge and skills to future innovators and also by serving as innovation incubators (Stanford and MIT are prototypical examples).

· Universities face particular challenges in “scaling up” education. “Scaling” challenges include quantity (expanding access to education), cost, and quality. Among the models discussed to deal with these challenges were entrepreneur clubs, research parks, distance learning, public-private partnerships (especially in technology), and stipends for student internships in business.

· At the same time, higher education needs to be accessible and be able to meet demand.

2.4 Partnerships for Workforce Development and Expanding Access

· There is a wide gap between the skills currently needed by Indian businesses and the skills currently being provided at Indian higher education institutions.

· Indian industries have developed large internal training programs to meet these needs. The vocational education sector in India is growing, but not quickly enough to keep up with demand for graduates trained in certain skills.

· Suggestions for increasing vocational skills training included a joint institute on skills development and a collaborative distance learning platform to further skills development.

· The model of U.S. community colleges could be utilized in India to increase vocational training opportunities. Community colleges are flexible, open to all, pragmatic in curricula approach, community-based, and able to enter mutually beneficial partnerships with local industries. Several colleges and universities agreed to collaborate and exchanged commitments. The goal was to establish 100 community colleges unique to India's needs, clustered together in partnership with industry, and focused on leadership development and retraining.

Closing Plenary

Secretary Arne Duncan noted that all young people deserve the best in higher education. He highlighted Secretary Clinton's strong support for international partnerships and Minister Sibal's expression of a sense of urgency and need to challenge the status quo. Secretary Duncan noted that international exchange programs are culturally and economically vital, citing the Fulbright Program as an example of the power of international exchanges.

Representatives from each breakout session then provided recaps of their sessions.

Hari Bhartia pointed out that during a previous period of up to 9% economic growth, the Indian Government invested in higher education to build capacity and talent. Indian industry began investing more in research and development after opening up to competition in 1990, with the Indian Government investing in basic research. Indians returned from the U.S. with graduate degrees and contributed increased expertise. The U.S. model is innovation and entrepreneurship such as academic scientific research translated into commercial products.

Chairman Ved Prakash announced that the Indian government plans to support an exchange of 1,500 Indian faculty members to be hosted by U.S. universities. He emphasized the importance of dual degrees and credit transfers and for Indians and Americans to solve global challenges together.

Minister Sibal noted that the landscape for exchanges is complex and an effort was made by Summit participants to seek win-win solutions. He pointed to higher education and industry collaboration as the way for India to scale up. He set the goal of planning substantial programs by the meeting next year in New Delhi. He promoted establishing universities in India with Indian-financed land and infrastructure coupled with U.S. highly qualified manpower and best practices. He advocated two areas in which to move forward quickly -- developing community colleges and investing in high quality, basic research.

Assistant Secretary Blake indicated next steps would include compiling the day’s observations and recommendations and looking ahead to an action plan. A forum for sharing ideas and continuing the great conversations begun at the Summit is also planned. Georgetown Dean Carol Lancaster closed by acknowledging the Summit’s substantive, productive, and provocative talks.

####


Sign-in

Do you already have an account on one of these sites? Click the logo to sign in and create your own customized State Department page. Want to learn more? Check out our FAQ!

OpenID is a service that allows you to sign in to many different websites using a single identity. Find out more about OpenID and how to get an OpenID-enabled account.