Canada and India build closer educational ties

UniversityWorldNews, Issue 128, 2010

India is focusing on giving their students a global experience, and a new bill being passed by the Indian Parliament would bring vast progress and easier access for international universities.

Mr. Pawan Agarwal, author of Indian Higher Education: Envisioning the future and a West Bengal Government member of staff addressed a conference in Ottawa held by the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada to promote India-Canada ties in higher education. He stated that with the right foundation, appropriate student recruitment, joint research project ventures and Government support, closer ties can be achieved.

The main reason towards this collaboration is to lessen the unfamiliarity of Canadian Universities and their reputation in India. Raising awareness is critical in overseas development work. Mr Agarwal mentioned that there were about 28,000 Indian students studying in Australia in comparison to a meager 2800 in Canada. Development of offshore campuses, collaborating with Indian institutes and extensive marketing are the ways to go for establishing strong presence in India. In the lines of Virginia tech and Georgia University, US opening off shore campuses in

Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, Schulich School of business, York University, Canada has already taken a step forward to offer collaborative programs with SP Jain School of Management, Mumbai, India.

According to Mr Shashishekhar Gavai, Indian High Commissioner to Canada, research collaboration was another option of consideration. He mentioned that McGill and Carleton universities are interested in setting up Canada-India centres to address the Indian immigrants in Canada.

On India’s part, India has 26,200 educational institutions with over 15 million students which is expected to grow twice as much in the next few years due to the increased growth of middle and upper classes. Mr Agarwal would like to increase the number of mature students enrolling for post graduate programs, something that Canada has been successful at. He is expecting Canada to diversify growth in areas in addition to Management and Engineering.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper hosted a roundtable discussion with 15 presidents from Indian universities. With premiers of Canadian provinces Ontario and Quebec visiting India and expressing interest in pursuing closer ties with the Indian higher education system, 15 Canadian university presidents met in India in November to make progress. India has become a global giant that without considering Indian market there is no real global experience. These programs will also provide tremendous opportunities for Indian students looking to acquire world-class management training and prepare them for global careers in India and around the world.

This Indo-Canadian collaboration will provide students a diverse international perspective and an opportunity to synthesize Western efficiency and Eastern ethos.