By Arun Kumar
Washington, Nov 17 (IANS) India-US cooperation in the field of education is poised for major expansion with India engaged in massive expansion of the education infrastructure, said Indian ambassador Meera Shankar.
"India sees education as critical for achieving its goals to have inclusive growth and to realise the potential for taking the Indian economy to a higher growth trajectory," Shankar said at a function Tuesday to commemorate the 60th Year of Nehru-Fulbright Educational Exchange Programme.
Noting that a bill has been introduced in parliament to open up the education sector for foreign universities, she said: "This provides an excellent opportunity for US universities to increase the number of Indian students studying in their institutions, not only in the United States, but also in India, through opening up of their off-shore locations or through tie-ups with Indian institutions."
"The Nehru-Fulbright Education Exchange Programme which nurtured educational cooperation at a time when political ties were not so robust, has contributed to transforming the relationship between our two countries."
The experience gained in the last 60 years has not only enhanced confidence and broadened horizons, but has also created new opportunities for positive partnerships in the field of education, Shankar said.
The "Fulbrighters" are the carriers of the fundamental principles of international partnership and mutual understanding, which remain at the core of the Nehru-Fulbright Programme Mission, she said.
Since its inception in 1950, the US - India Educational Foundation (USIEF), which administers the Fulbright Programme, has awarded more than 17,000 Fulbright and Fulbright-Nehru scholarships, Fulbright-Hays awards, Humphrey Fellowships, Distinguished Fulbright Awards in Teaching, and supported other exchanges covering a full range of academic disciplines.
Over the past two years, the Fulbright-Nehru Programme has tripled in funding, and with respect to the number of students and scholars it supports each year.
Several senior US officials including, US Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg, Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Ann Stock and Assistant Secretary, Department of Education, Eduardo M. Ochoa and participating Fulbright Scholars attended the function.