India and the United States have agreed to broaden their knowledge partnership in pursuit of six key goals, including strategic institutional partnerships and exploring models for 'educational institutions for the 21st Century'.
The goals were outlined in a US-India Joint Statement by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and India's Minister of Human Resource Development Kapil Sibal issued at the end of a day-long "historic" US-India Higher Education summit co-chaired by them.
To pursue the agreed goals, India announced its intention to set up an India-US higher education platform as the two sides agreed to strengthen educator enrichment and exchange programmes to promote development of human resources while also enhancing broader interaction between the two countries.
The Indian government also indicated its intention to sponsor initially up to 1,500 faculty and junior scholars to leading universities and research institutes in the United States for this purpose.
Endorsing the consensus arrived at the summit attended by over 300 participants, the two sides agreed to continue expanded US-India Higher Education Dialogue with representatives from government, academia, and business that would interact on a periodic basis to inform and underpin the Dialogue.
The two sides also welcomed the involvement of the private sector in the two countries to support and deepen collaboration with the higher education community, faculty exchanges, skills development, and institutional partnerships, the joint statement said.
The proposed strategic institutional partnerships are aimed at further strengthening and expansion of collaboration in the priority areas of higher education, including science and engineering, social sciences, and humanities, and addressing societal challenges in areas such as cyber security, energy, environment, health and agriculture.
Other key goals include encouraging expansion and deepened collaboration in research and development in agreed areas between academic institutions of the two countries through existing initiatives and fostering partnerships in the areas of vocational education and skills enhancement to meet the needs of today's world.
The two sides also agreed to further strengthening programmes for student and faculty enrichment and exchange, and development of leadership in academia at all levels.
Sibal and Clinton, the statement said, emphasised that access to and the development of technology and skills are cross-cutting requirements to meet the challenges that their two countries face and stressed the need to enhance their fruitful collaboration in the areas of education, research, and innovation.
The expanded US-India Higher Education Dialogue as an annual bilateral event to be held alternately in the United States and India to map out strategies for partnership in the field of education between the two countries.
It should identify areas for mutually beneficial exchanges and provide a platform for intense and meaningful collaboration among academia, the private sector, and government on both sides.