The Dialogue is the third major event in a row after the India-US Higher Education Summit held on 13th October, 2011 and the HE Dialogue held on 12th June, 2012 at at Washington DC.
The Dialogue was attended by Ms. Tara Sonenshine, US Under Secretary of State, Ms Martha Kanter, US Under Secretary of Education, US Ambassador to India, Ms. Nancy Powell other officials and academics from different institutions and Community Colleges from US side and Mr. Sam Pitroda, Advisor to Prime Minister, Ms. NirupamaRao, Ambassador of India to US, Mr. Ashok Thakur, Secretary, Higher Education, Dr. T. Ramasami, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology and Vice Chancellors, Directors of IITs, other Academics and representatives of industry including CII, FICCI and ASSOCHAM.
Opening the Dialogue along with Secretary Kerry, Minister Dr M. M. PallamRaju emphasized the need to look for and work upon new avenues for collaboration so that the two countries could grow together as two leading knowledge societies in the world.
HRM Dr M. M. PallamRaju said that his vision is to transform the country's educational institutions into hubs of knowledge creation and promoters of innovation as also provide opportunities to its youth for their skill development and employment.
The Minister added that overall during the XII Five Year Plan 2012-2017, we intend to achieve an additional enrolment capacity of 10 million students in higher education including 1 million in open and distance learning so as to raise the country's Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in Higher Education from 18.1% at present to 25.2% by 2017 and reach the target of 30% GER by 2020. HRM also said that skill development and vocational education should be, in his view, an integral part of our education system and the role of business and industry would be of great relevance. He expressed deep satisfaction at the initiatives taken recently and hoped that the Dialogue would provide more opportunities for mutual engagement.
Secretary Kerry in his opening remarks said the two countries need to focus on providing education, skills and cultural values to the children who form the most valuable part of the future world population. He remarked that technology should be used as a tool to instill values in children so that they are able to use the information and education they receive for the betterment of the society and nation building. Secretary Kerry also outlined the contours of the broad relations between the two countries upon which the Higher Education Dialogue need to be carried forward.
The India-US Higher Education dialogue has been very instrumental in strengthening educational Collaborations between the two countries. President Obama and Prime Minister Dr. Singh have termed the collaboration between India and US as "defining partnership of the century" and have outlined that knowledge sharing is an important component of it. The major initiatives include enhanced two-way student mobility, research collaborations, faculty development, collaborations for establishment of Community colleges, collaborations for Cyber Systems, and Technology Enabled Learning including Massive Open On-Line Courses (MOOCs).
The major announcements made during the Dialogue include 8 Joint Research partnerships under Singh-Obama 21st century Knowledge Initiative; announcing the final list of 126 Raman Fellows, supported by the University Grants Commission (UGC), who are ready to travel to US Institutions for Post-Doctoral research and "Connect India" Programme aimed at inviting students from US institutions for short term courses in India.