The Minister of Human Resource Development, Dr M M Pallam Raju has informed the media that he would be on the US visit to Washington DC, Philadelphia and Boston from 13th to 18th of May, 2013. This a continuation of India-US higher education dialogue which was initiated in 2009 after the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh’s visit to the US during the same year, the Minister added.
This visit is the follow up of the Obama-Singh initiative taken on higher education. The focus of the visit would be on strengthening and enhancing higher education initiatives- 8 projects have been identified under this initiative. Strategic dialogue on higher education would take place. The visit will also cover school education and skill development sector.
The Minister also discussed Connect to India programme where US students will be coming and joining higher research institutes in India. The visit will also focus on exchange of faculty and development of faculty. The Government has also initiated a scheme through University Grants Commission (UGC) to sponsor Indian researchers at the Post-Doctoral level and the first batch of 126 Indian scholars is ready to go to the US Institutions for post-doctoral research. The Minister expressed the hope that the partnership in scientific research and technology will definitely have its impact on academic world.
The Minister further added that he has been invited by the Temple University, Philadelphia to receive the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, Honaris Causa, at the 126th commencement exercises on May 16, 2013. The Commencement exercises will be held at the Liacouras Center on Temple’s Main Campus.
The Minister’s visit will also focus on development of community colleges in India. The HRD Minister stated that the US has a very healthy, vibrant and strong network of community colleges which responds to the local needs. It is an informal system of education and building up of vocational skills and caters to the local requirements,. The American Association of community colleges is very keen on visiting India and making their presence in India. As far as school education is concerned, as a part building of capacity of teachers, educators and teachers would be sent to various US universities. First batch will be leaving shortly, he said.
The Minister also answered a volley of questions on four year under graduate programme of Delhi University, normalization of JEE (mains) exam, RTE, accreditation of higher institutes of learning for quality education, etc. On the issue of four year course he said that the Ministry does not have any intent to impinge on the autonomy of Delhi University. On the question of RTE he stated that the major concern is the shortcoming in the capacity of teachers and the Government is working on it.