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Govt urges varsities to promote 'brand India' at US conference

Last Updated : 21 May 2017, 19:35 IST
Last Updated : 21 May 2017, 19:35 IST

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The Centre has given a call to all universities and colleges to participate in an upcoming international conference on higher education in the US later this month to project India as a preferred destination for education and research.

Acting on a directive from the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry, both the University Grants Commission (UGC) and the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) have asked the higher educational institutes under them to consider participating in the six-day NAFSA conference, scheduled to be held this year in the city of Los Angeles from May 28.

The Ministry swung into action after the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) approached it, suggesting that NAFSA conference would be “an effective platform” for building “brand India” by showcasing “some of the finest” Indian universities and colleges under 'India Pavilion' during the six-day event.

“In line with the Prime Minister's (Narendra Modi) vision to make India global leader, it is imperative that India is projected as a preferred destination for education and research. Though the English speaking talent pool and the low cost of workforce has attracted many multinationals to set up their offices in India, it has not been a case in (the field of) education,” FICCI president Pankaj R Patel told HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar in a letter earlier this year, proposing to lead the Indian delegation.

The NAFSA is an association of international educators and considered as the world's largest non-profit organisation dedicated to international education and exchange. Its annual conference on higher education is also considered one of the biggest as institutions from all over the world participate in it.

Founded in 1948 as the National Association of Foreign Student Advisers to promote the professional development of the US colleges and universities, the NAFSA has its members from more than 3,500 educational institutions in over 150 countries.

The HRD Ministry has been making various efforts to increase the number of foreign students in the Indian higher educational institutions as part of its strategy to improve their international presence.

Many of the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) recently sent their delegations to US and other countries to offer faculty positions to Indian origin students and researchers. They also offered teaching positions to foreign faculties.

A move to increase the number of foreign students and faculties in the IITs and other centrally-funded higher educational institutions have been initiated by the HRD Ministry after it emerged during several discussions that inadequate number of foreign students and faculties in the Indian institutions is one of the main reasons as to why even premier institutes like Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and the Indian Institutes of Management were not able to grab the top slots in international ranking.

The Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, recently secured eighth rank in the best small universities of the world list released by an international rating agency, Times Higher Education.
However, not a single Indian higher educational institution could figure in the top 200 universities in the world list.

“The NAFSA is the world's largest conference on higher education. It will be highly effective platform for building brand India,” FICCI president said.

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Published 21 May 2017, 16:58 IST

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