Lagos (Nigeria): India wants increased partnership with Nigeria in education through institutional cooperation, content development, faculty exchange and joint ventures that would enhance the West African country`s human resource development, according to Indian High Commissioner Mahesh Sachdev.
"Bilateral cooperation in education has had a proud history and remains a priority. A generation of Nigerians have fond memories of being taught by Indian teachers and professors, thousands of whom contributed to Nigerian education system till into mid-1980s," Sachdev said at the just concluded Second Indian Education Expo in Nigeria`s financial hub Lagos.
He said the "glorious bilateral past" and the vast future potential should encourage more collaboration.
Sachdev said the Indian government has put in place a programme to train 500 million young people in vocational skills over the next 10 years worldwide. "India has the passion for human resource development and would want to be a partner to achieve this."
This year`s Expo held May 16-17 was the second after a similar one held in 2011 where only five India-based institutions attended. More than 12 Indian universities and institutes of higher learning took part in the event organised by M/s Chartered Exhibitions & Media Private Limited, Mumbai (India), with the support of the Indian High Commission.
All the institutions used the opportunity to showcase their graduate and postgraduate courses in engineering, medicine and other programmes to the eligible students.
Following the maiden event, 1,200 Nigerian students entered universities across India last year.
"Higher Studies courses in India are becoming increasingly popular with Nigerian students due to many factors such as credible well-recognised and relevant degrees, English as a medium of instruction, competitive costs, similar social and climatic conditions and a hassle-free visa regime," said the High Commission.
Hitesh Pujara, a director of Chartered Exhibitions & Media Private Limited, said that India has a large presence of Nigerian students and in addition, the country has many past students who have good memories of their stay in India and this makes it easy for others to follow.
Pujara said this year`s Expo had been very successful because of the numbers that attended and the response has been very positive.
"In India, any African is assured of quality education, education that is affordable with cost, similar culture and affordable living cost in addition to good practical experience which is an attraction that most foreign students have found worthwhile," he added.
Pujara indicated that similar student recruitment drives would be taken to other parts of Africa.
"India, being a large partner of Africa, will be happy to do so" if other African countries provided the support, motivation and cooperation.