India-Israel bilateral agreements to boost Indian higher education sector

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India and Israel’s bilateral cooperation is likely to boost collaboration between in the field of higher education and research observes Hriday Ch Sarma for Elets News Network (ENN).

At present, India and Israel are enhancing their political and economic allies. The cooperation between them is steadfastly increasing not only in the area of defence cooperation, but in anarray of sectors, such as agriculture, water, cyber security, oil & gas and so on. This is really commendable considering the fact that the friendship between the two historic nations is just two and half decades old.

For this new found friendship to unceasingly continue in the future, a solid foundation needs to be created that intricately binds people from both sides. There is, of course, no magic band for this to happen; however, dedicated collaboration in the field of higher education can act as a tool for the pursuit of common goals among the younger generations from both countries. This in turn will shape a common destiny for the two countries in the emerging world order.

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Israel presents ample scope for learning of new and advanced subjects, including but not limited to microbiology, nanotechnology, business management and information security, to Indian students.  The country has state-of-art education institutes and research centres that are ranked among the best in the world. The most famous among them are: Weizmann Institute of Science, established in 1934, a multidisciplinary public research university offering high academic degrees in the fields of natural and exact sciences; Hebrew University of Jerusalem (also known as HUJI) that serves around 23,000 students from around the world in its 7 faculties and 14 schools; and Tel Aviv University, the largest public university in the country, offers 125 schools and departments across the spectrum of sciences, humanities and arts- qualifying as the most comprehensive institution of higher learning and research in Israel.

In addition to the aforesaid ones, the country has also numerous education and research institutes that are excelling in their respective areas of studies, some even at the international level. Sheba Medical Centre (Tel Ha’shomer), the biggest medical centre in the country, has three hospitals that offer more than 60 programs for medical professionals: doctors, nurses and administrators. The students pursing courses here gain practical experience and “on the job training”. Aharon Ofri Centre (Kibbutz Ramat Rachel), a collaboration of Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Israeli Ministry of Education, offers diverse educational courses for teachers from all around the world. Here course participants can get trained in: curriculum development, establishing educational systems in rural areas, technology embedding in schools and classes, social rehabilitation of neighbourhoods and drug abuse prevention. The list of such institutes is a long one, which also includes Israeli College for Security and Investigations (Jerusalem), Centre of International Agriculture Development Cooperation (Rehovot), Arava International Trainee Centre (Sapir) and Golda Meir Training Centre (Haifa) as ranked among the Avant grade.

Israel offers range of scholarships exclusively for Indian students to not just come and study there; but also enable them to gain understanding of the local culture as it really is.The Government of Israel offers 7 scholarships (2 scholarship for study of Hebrew language and 5 for academic research) annually as a part of the Cultural Agreements between Israel and India. This scholarship is categorized under two categories: 1/ For Masters and PhD Programmes, 2/ For Post Doctorate and Research Programmes. Moreover, the Israeli Council of Higher Education has been offering annual post-doctoral fellowships to about 100 students from India and China since 2012.

Israel is keen to develop joint research projects and academic studies with India for it sees the immense manpower potential in the latter. India, on its part, is trying to equally gesticulate by encouraging Israeli academics as well as businessmen to set up lasting ventures that could be mutually benefiting. Already the Indian government has set up a $40 million joint fund with Israel for research and development in innovation. Moreover, private education institutes in India, such as O.P. Jindal University and Indian Institute of Management Bangalore, have joined the bandwagonof strategic bilateral partnership by initiating their own Israel studies centres.

So, it is now up to the young minds in India to grab a pie for themselves from among the endless possibilities of excellence that Israel is offering at the moment! (views above are author’s personal)

Author’s Bio: Hriday Ch Sarma is pursuing PhD under Energy Studies Programme at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Hriday is also a fellow with the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), an international research and membership organisation conducting Israel media-monitoring.

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