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India to implement US concept of community colleges

India said that it was implementing the US concept of community colleges to make sure that its workforce is trained to meet newer challenges.

New Delhi: Faced with the task of skilling 500 million youth, India on Tuesday said it was implementing the US concept of community colleges to make sure that its workforce is trained to meet newer challenges.

Visualising skill development to be an integral part of the country`s education system, HRD Minister Pallam Raju said based on the US` experience of community colleges, India has embarked to develop community colleges.

Talking to reporters after the India-US Higher Education Dialogue here, he, however, said, "We are only borrowing the concept and not going to replicate what is happening there in the US" as the economic condition of the two nations are different.
"It is a relevant model. Over 100 years, the US has fine tuned that model. It has become much more than impacting skills," Raju said about the skill development through community colleges. It will work closely with industry and business from the area to develop skill sets that are required from the local areas.

Meanwhile, the US stressed on jointly working towards increasing skills of students to face future challenges and said this can be done through exchange programmes and partnerships between India and the US.

"We need to make sure that next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs have the skills and training," US Secretary of State John Kerry said.
Those who work in government and private sectors need to join together in order to focus and meet the challenges in education, he said.

Raju and Kerry co-chaired the India-US Higher Education Dialogue.

The collaboration includes promoting institution to institution ties, deepening co-operation in research and development, encouraging faculty exchanges and development of teachers.

The blue print also includes promoting a two-way student exchange, skill development and give thrust to on-line education such as Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).

In continuation of the educational partnership between the two nations, the US State Department announced eight institutional partnership projects for the second round of Obama-Singh 21st Century Knowledge Initiative awards.

This initiative strengthens collaboration and builds partnerships between American and Indian institutions of higher education in priority fields, US officials said.

Each project will receive an award of approximately USD 250,000 that can be utilised over a three-year period, with the objectives of cultivating educational reform, fostering economic growth, generating shared knowledge to address global challenges, and developing junior faculty at Indian and American institutions of higher learning.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Barack Obama announced the Obama-Singh Initiative in November 2009 as an affirmation of their commitment to building an enhanced India-US partnership in education.

Each government pledged $5 million for this endeavour, for a total of USD 10 millions.

Both the sides also signed four agreements-IIT-Delhi and University of Nebraska on the Cyber Systems, IIT-Bombay and edX on MOOCs, AICTE and American Association of Community Colleges and ITM group with Montgomery Colleges.

Raju had visited the US last month for forging linkages and collaborations in the field of higher education.


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