US offers India 4,000 centres of higher learning

New Delhi, Mar 29 | Updated: Mar 30 2007, 05:36am hrs
The US is seeking to expand its education ties with India in a big way by increasing student exchanges --a move that would help meet the growing demands of the American and Indian businesses for skilled, knowledgeable workers. This was stated by the visiting US under-secretary of state for public affairs and diplomacy Karen P Hughes.

At a meet organised by FICCI on The US & India: Partners in Education on Thursday, Hughes said, Higher education is critical to succeed in the global environment.

She also said, The population of India is young-45% is below the age of 20 and 54% is below the age of 25. These young people have high aspirations that cannot be met without specialised education in fields ranging from marketing to health care to hotel management. While India has made spaces available for new groups of the population, demand is still greater than the supply. The US can offer more than 4,000 institutions of higher learning. She added that US ambassador to India David Mulford had speeded up the visa clearance procedure and reduced the backlog of visas for students.

Emphasising the need for partnership, Amit Mitra, secretary general, Ficci, said US varsities that had centres on India tended to focus on its oriental nature and had courses on religion and caste, whereas they should focus on new India and its knowledge-driven industries. He said, The shift in India has happened very rapidly. The US varsities have not caught up with it.