India, US discuss Education Council

New Delhi, June 3 (Calcutta Tube) India and the US have discussed the possibility of setting up an India-US Education Council to scale up bilateral cooperation in the field of education.

Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal put forward the proposal Wednesday in Washington at a meeting with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who welcomed the proposal.

The Sibal-Clinton meeting took place on the sidelines of the first India-US strategic dialogue. External Affairs Minister S.M. Kirshna heads the Indian delegation.

According to an official statement here, the Education Council proposed by Sibal will have academics, entrepreneurs and government representatives as members.

Clinton expressed keen interest in India’s vision of building an educated and skilled society, the statement said.

She suggested collaboration in areas of skill development, particularly through community colleges.

Sibal briefed Clinton on the 14 ‘innovation universities’ being set up in India, to focus on research and development in a large way. He sought US cooperation in some of them.

Some of the areas identified for research are health, environment and new technologies for power plants.

The statement added that one of these universities is likely to be announced during the visit of US President Barack Obama to India later this year.

Sibal and Clinton also discussed the scope of information and communication technologies in enhancing teaching-learning capabilities and research collaboration in biosciences, nano-sciences and other fields.

Sibal met US Education Secretary Arne Duncan separately Wednesday.

The meetings assume importance as Sibal has been pitching for increasing foreign direct investment in higher education.

According to officials here, major American universities met Sibal and expressed interest in venturing into higher education in India.

The Indian delegation for the strategic dialogue includes Sibal, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia and Minister of State for Science and Technology Prithviraj Chavan.

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