India and the U.S. have strong ties in the area of education. Over 1,00,000 Indians study in the U.S. and the number continues to increase each year. The U.S. continues to look for ways to increase collaboration and opportunities between the two countries,” said Jennifer McIntyre, Consul General, U.S. Consulate, Chennai.
She was speaking at the one-day International Education Fair organised by Rajalakshmi Engineering College, Thandalam, near Chennai, in their campus on August 9. There are over 12 million Indians enrolled in over 500 universities and 20,000 colleges. “However, there are approximately half a billion Indians under the age of 25. Put simply, educating this population is one of the greatest challenges facing India,” Ms. McIntyre said.
An international fair such as this one represented by five countries can assist students with educational opportunities and find ways to collaborate and shape the leaders of the 21st century, she said.
The recent visit of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to participate in the strategic dialogue also included discussion on educational initiatives. U.S. and India plan to host a higher educational summit in Washington D.C. on October 13 to highlight and emphasise the many avenues through which the higher education communities in the U.S and India collaborate. Also in future, more number of American students will study and intern in India.
The U.S.-India Science and Technology Endowment Board that awards three billion dollars annually will announce its first set of grantees by September 2011. India and the U.S. are all set to host the third annual Woman in Science workshop in September. “It is clear that both the countries are exploring many avenues for educational collaboration,” Ms. McIntyre said.
Dr. Thangam Meganathan, REC chairperson, said, “International education fairs are usually organised at Five Star hotels in the city. Not all students get the opportunity to visit such fairs. Therefore, we decided to organise an international education fair in our campus itself. Such an initiative ensures higher participation by students and also it is cost-effective.”
Representatives from the United States-India Educational Foundation (USIEF), Education U.K., Campus France, German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and Study Holland interacted with the students and the parents and explained to them the various possibilities in higher education in their respective countries. Sudha Sudeep of Study in Holland said, “The number of students enrolling in universities in Holland is on the rise. In 2009, we had about 30 students from south India, and this year, the number has risen to 150. Such fairs provide students with authentic information and true facts. No longer are the students restricting themselves to the U.S or U.K., but they are opening their eyes to newer countries, course and opportunities.”
Padmavathi Chandramouli of DAAD Chennai says, “Organising such fairs within the educational institute campus has its advantages. REC started this system last year and the response from the students has been very good.”
HDFC Credila (www.credila.com) clarified doubts that many students had with regard to education loans at the fair.