Education and People-to-People Ties

Fact Sheet
Washington, DC
July 19, 2011

Education and exchange programs provide deep roots for the U.S.-India relationship. The more than 12,000 alumni of our public diplomacy programs in India, along with over 100,000 Indian students studying in the United States each year and the more than 2 million Indian-Americans living in the United States, anchor our two countries’ exceptional people-to-people ties. U.S.-India education cooperation enhances each country’s emphasis on building a knowledge society. These partnerships are critical to strengthening scholarship and research in each of our countries, improving and expanding access to a quality education, and developing greater mutual understanding and lasting relationships in numerous fields of endeavor.

The U.S.-India Higher Education Summit and Dialogue: The United States and India will convene a summit on higher education in Washington, DC on October 13, 2011, chaired by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Minister of Human Resource Development Kapil Sibal. The Summit will explore how government, universities, and business can collaborate to create innovative and sustained higher education partnerships between the United States and India. The two governments also announced an expanded U.S.-India Higher Education Dialogue as a forum for deepening linkages and cooperation. The dialogue will occur annually and will incorporate U.S. and Indian higher education officials and members of the private sector on a rotating basis.

Obama-Singh 21st Century Knowledge Initiative: The United States and India have published the first request for proposals under the Obama-Singh 21st Century Knowledge Initiative. The Initiative will focus support on the formation of higher education partnerships between interested institutions in both countries. The initiative will strengthen teaching, research, and administration in U.S. and Indian institutions. The United States and India each pledged $5 million for this undertaking during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s U.S. visit in 2009.

Passport to India: This new private sector-led initiative will target American students – from high school to graduate school – and provide them first-hand knowledge of India while participating in internships with companies and organizations in India. Passport to India internships would range from three weeks to six months and would include service learning opportunities such as volunteer work with an NGO, summer scientific research internships, and internships with an organization or private sector company linked to a student’s academic interests.

The Fulbright-Nehru Partnership: With the Government of India as a full partner and increased funding from both governments announced by President Obama and Prime Minister Singh in 2009, the Fulbright-Nehru program has nearly tripled in the last three years, with approximately 300 students and scholars from the United States and India participating annually in this flagship people-to-people exchange. India now has the largest Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program in the world. The Fulbright Program and related exchanges with India have benefited more than 17,000 American and Indian students and scholars since 1950.

Community College Initiatives: The second cohort of 44 Indian students participating in the U.S. Department of State’s Community College Initiative Program will arrive this fall to pursue one year of certificate study at U.S. community colleges in fields important to national development. A pilot program linking Montgomery College with three technical institutions in India also launched auspiciously in March with a symposium in New Delhi. Through a program of faculty and administration exchanges, the program aims to promote faculty development, internationalize the Montgomery College curriculum, and better align school curricula and teaching methodologies in India to the needs of local businesses.

Student Advising: The Department of State has funded a significant expansion of EducationUSA advising services in India, which will be launched over the next several months and will include virtual advising services through the Web, social media, and a nationwide advising hotline. EducationUSA advising provides accurate, reliable, and objective information about opportunities for study at accredited institutions in the United States.

Language Learning: Each year the Department of State provides more than 1,000 14- to 18-year-old students with English Access Microscholarships for two years of quality after-school English language instruction in their local communities, while five English Language Fellows, hosted by Indian institutions around the country, offer training and help with curriculum development for Indian teachers of English. The Department of State Department also sends 100 American high school and university students to learn Indic languages in India each year, and sends approximately 50 U.S. undergraduate students to India for study as Gilman Scholars. In addition, 30 secondary level students study language in India during summer and year-long programs as part of the National Security Language Initiative for Youth.

Basic Education: The U.S. Government has contributed at the primary and secondary levels to encouraging literacy, improving pedagogy, and reducing female drop-out rates through the following initiatives:

  • In partnership with Room to Read, 4,454 children have benefitted from the establishment of 24 new school libraries and teacher training in how to engage children with books in the classroom. A companion program to train local authors and illustrators has resulted in the publication and distribution of four new local language children’s book titles.
  • Room to Read’s Girls’ Scholarship Program provided 575 secondary school girls identified as at-risk of dropping out with financial support, life skills training, female mentors, and a girl-friendly school environment this year. Among participating girls, the drop-out rate fell to near zero.
  • Technology Tools for Teaching and Training, a program of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), works closely with eight Indian state governments to combine technology with sound pedagogy and effective teacher training to improve education quality in public schools’ math, science and English curricula. The program covers 350,000 schools and reaches 42 million children and is showing exemplary improvements in teaching practices and student learning gains in hard-to-teach subject areas.
  • In September 2010, the U.S. Government, through USAID and in partnership with the Government of India, signed an agreement for a five-year Partnership for Basic Education which supports the Government of India’s Right to Education Act. The Act provides all children between the ages of 6 and 14 with the fundamental right to free and compulsory education.

PRN: 2011/T51-17