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“Empowerment will be through education.”
India’s Minister of Human Resource Development Kapil Sibal
Sunday, October 16, 2011  11:27:41

PRESS RELEASE 10/16/2011

“Empowerment will be through education.” India’s Minister of Human Resource Development Kapil Sibal said in a meeting with American educators and businessmen on Oct. 15 in an event co-hosted by the University of North America.

In his heartfelt speech, he called on the American higher education institutions to change their mindset and bring broad-based quality education to the vast Indian population. Minister Sibal co-chaired the first-ever US-India Higher Education Summit with US Secretary of the State Hilary Rodham Clinton on Oct 13 and 14. After this high-profile conference, Minister Sibal attended a personable breakfast gathering with a group of American business and education leaders invited by the UoNA and the Washington DC Chapter of the Indian National Overseas Congress.

In the audience include many prominent Indian Americans—among them, Natwar M. Gandhi, the chief financial officer for Washington DC and Rajan Natarajan, Deputy Secretary of State from Maryland and Raj Narsimhan who serves on Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell's Commission on Higher Education Reform, Innovation and Investment.

Also speaking at the meeting was Maryland’s Secretary of State John P. McDonough who will be part of a delegation from Maryland led by Governor Martin O’Malley to visit India next month. McDonough emphasized the friendship and future opportunity between Maryland and India and presented a Maryland state flag and a state lapel pin to Minister Sibal. In his hour-long speech, Minister Sibal laid out a range of challenges the world will be facing in the next decade, including population explosion, water pollution and food and energy shortages.

For India, he noted, the biggest challenge and opportunity at the same time, is education.  The Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) in higher education in India is presently around 15%, about 10% below the world average.  The goal,  Sibal said, is to increase it to 30% by 2020.  This would require India to provide for opportunities in higher education for an additional thirty million children by 2020.

To do that, Sibal stated, India will need to build an additional 1000 universities and 50,000 colleges. He asked institutions around the world to help with this endeavor. “It requires the western world to change its current mindset and adept to India’s local needs.” 

Speaking about the future of education, he envisioned that the nature of delivery of educational services will be completely different from what we experienced before. He believes, customized learning across cultures will be the dominant theme of higher education. He said, “We need to open up the university as a learning space, embrace collaborative knowledge production, and break down the walls between institutions.

As a co-host of this event, Marty Martin, Chairman and CEO of the UoNA, discussed with the Minister the impact of technology and the exciting innovation in American higher education. Martin also presented a higher education white paper to Minister Sibal.


 The University of North America, located in Tysons Corner, Virginia, is a diverse institution that has both domestic and international students from all cultures. UoNA offers multiple specializations with their MBA and MSIT programs and comprehensive MSCS and Doctorate in Business Administration Degree programs.

UoNA’s Academic Advisors Dr. and Mrs, Robert Verhalen, Dr. Joseph Drew and Academic Council Chairman Zalmi Azmi, Chancellor Dr. Benjamin Davis and UoNA Honor Students from India also attended this meeting. 

Strengthening the cooperation between institutions in the United States and India is a priority for governments and educators from both countries. In her opening remarks for the US-India Higher Education Summit, Secretary Clinton emphasized, “The United States envisions a robust role for the U.S. and Indian governments in promoting and encouraging the vibrancy and depth of the cooperation between our education sectors.” The Summit was jointly hosted by the Government of India and the Government of the United States and attended by higher education leaders and government officials from the U.S. and India, as well as private sector leaders.

According to the Indian Embassy, the objective of the summit is to further strengthen higher education collaboration and exchange between institutions in the United States and India through exploration of topics of mutual interest such as joint degrees, research partnerships, accreditation and quality assurance. “Education is our next big sector of growth,” Minister Sibal stated, noting that the current $80 billion industry in India was set to boom following the March 2010 passage of the Foreign Education Bill in the Union cabinet.

(Last Update Date : 10/08/2012 11:44 AM)

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