alok kumar
NEW DELHI, 25 JUNE: Human resource development minister MM Pallam Raju and visiting US Secretary of State John F Kerry today emphasised the need for jointly working towards increasing skills of students to face future challenges.
They also expressed their intent to step up exchange programmes and partnerships between India and the USA as several institutions from the two countries announced tie-ups and collaborations.
Eight projects for building partnerships between American and Indian institutions of higher education in priority fields were signed. These include Harvard-India Nutrition Initiative between Harvard School of Public Health and St John’s Research Institute, Bangalore; an MoU between Aligarh Muslim University and Ohio State University, and between Assam Agricultural University and Washington State University.
An MoU was also signed between IIT-Delhi and University of Nebraska on cyber systems. Each of these projects will receive an award of approximately $250,000 that can be utilised over a three-year period, with the objectives of cultivating educational reforms, fostering economic growth, generating shared knowledge to address global challenges and developing junior faculty at Indian and American institutions.
IIT Bombay entered into an MoU with edX ~ a massive open online course platform founded by Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University to offer free online university-level courses in a wide range of disciplines. The intended outcome also includes two-way students’ mobility from India to the USA and vice-versa. India and the USA will also take up linkage between industry and academia and faculty development.
Mr Kerry emphasised that the two countries needed to lead the way as a large young population has to be trained. “There are gigantic challenges. People don’t just have to be trained for work; they need to be trained so that they can take part in democracy, so that they know how to decide between fiction and fact. This is something India and the USA have the capacity to share with the world,” he said  at the third India-US Higher Education Dialogue here.