Remarks at Community College Symposium

Dr. Molly Teas, Education Advisor, South and Central Asia
New Delhi, India
March 14, 2011

(As Prepared)

Good morning and welcome. I am Molly Teas, Senior Advisor for Education in the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.

I would like to thank Ambassador Roemer for joining us today. And our thanks to Dr. Rai for all of your hard work in planning this symposium, as well as to our colleagues from O.P. Jindal Institute of Technology and Skills, the Guru Gobind Singh Government Polytechnic and the Haryana Industrial Training Institute. We would also like to thank Executive Director Adam Grotsky and the United States India Educational Foundation for all of their efforts in helping to organize this symposium.

“Transforming Boundaries,” is the kick-off event for a series of exchanges between Montgomery College and Indian vocational and technical institutions. It was one of the first initiatives I took on when I joined the Department of State in 2010. I am a firm believer in the community college system in the United States. So, when I learned that Indian institutions were interested in exploring the community college model in cooperation with Montgomery College, I knew we could provide support. Thus, today, we are so pleased to launch this program.

Secretary Clinton said that exchanges foster leadership, intellectual achievement and innovation as well as promote mutual understanding and respect between the United States and India. For example, as a result of this exchange program, that might mean that Montgomery College automotive expert, Deborah Anderson, collects first-hand information in India to share with her students back in the United States about how Suzuki, BMW and Ford successfully expanded operations making India one of the largest car manufacturers in the world.

It may prompt Mario Parcan and John Phillips, both professors at Montgomery College, to find out why disaster resistant construction methodologies are so important in India and discover where the greatest need for qualified manpower is in the construction industry.

For the Indian delegation visiting the U.S., you will see how Montgomery College utilizes their facilities 24-7 to keep operational costs down and to meet the needs of working students. Moreover, you will get the opportunity to see how the college develops its programs in order to support students who are working full time or who are single parents. Finally, we hope that you will interact with Montgomery College professor, John Hammon, watching and learning from him as he helps students with special programs such as additional tutoring for math courses.

For all exchange participants, “Transforming Boundaries” means integrating examples and case studies into each other’s curricula. It means talking to each other and your students about international work opportunities. It means talking to your management boards and Boards of Trustees about what you have seen and the importance of these exchanges to ensure your institutions are cutting edge. Most importantly though, this program will give you the opportunity to forge personal relationships with each other, which can last a lifetime.

As Secretary Clinton said in the video, the U.S. and India have a long tradition of academic partnerships. Because of the importance placed on education as a pillar of the U.S. – India relationship, President Obama and Prime Minister Singh announced in November that we would convene a U.S.-India Higher Education Summit in 2011.

We hope the Summit will help us deepen and expand our educational ties. As you know, our flagship educational exchange program, the Fulbright-Nehru program, expanded this past year; thanks in large measure to significant cost sharing by the Government of India. From 100 students and scholars in 2007-2008, the program has grown to more than 250 Fulbright-Nehru grantees during the 2010-2011 academic year. What a remarkable achievement!

In total, this year more than 2,500 American students studied in India and over 100,000 Indian students are enrolled in U.S. institutions of higher education. We would like these numbers to continue to increase. The majority of Indian students in the U.S. are graduate students. We hope in coming years to see more undergraduate students from both our countries studying at each other’s institutions, interning at each other’s companies, and increasing the understanding of each other’s cultures and higher education systems.

India has set an ambitious goal of boosting tertiary enrollments from 13 to 40 million students by 2020. The community college model has the potential to help India achieve this goal by providing an affordable model of training. We hope this Symposium is the beginning of much more work to come together in this area. By working together, we can reach a goal both of our countries share - of developing a workforce that can live up to 21st century challenges.

We look forward to embarking on this adventure with you. Thank you.

Clearance page

Draft by: M. Teas

Cleared by:

SCA/FO J. Moore - ok

SCA/INSB A. Keshap - ok

SCA/PPD M. Coulter - ok

L/PD – L. Nierenberg - info

ECA – D. Plack - ok

NSS B. Jensen - info

R – K. Schinnerer - ok

P – D. Holmes - ok

D (S) - D. Schrepel - ok

EmbDelhi - M. Pelletier - ok