IIE Networker - Spring 2010 - (Page 18)

COUNTRY FOCUS: INDIA The following two articles present two different perspectives on international academic exchange between the United States and India. To help readers understand student mobility trends, IIE’s Rajika Bhandari and Ajit Motwani present the recent data and perceptions of the U.S. among Indian students. Rahul Choudaha, Associate Director of Development & Innovation at World Education Services, provide tips for using social media to effectively recruit Indian students. These authors also contributed to a new IIE/AIFS Foundation publication, International India: A Turning Point in Educational Exchange with the U.S. U.S.-India Exchange: Ready for a “New Era”? By Rajika Bhandari and Ajit Motwani India is the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend and the great-grandmother of tradition. -Mark Twain, 1835–1910 MARK TWAIN, LIKE many other peripatetic travellers of his generation, knew that the best education is often acquired by crossing borders and learning about different cultures. Twain’s world travels between 1891 and 1901 took him to India, a country that in ancient times was a thriving center for higher education and a destination for scholars from all across the world. Today, educational exchanges remain the most significant vehicle for cultural learning and sharing societal values, and U.S.-India academic exchange has perhaps never showed so much potential for growth. However, the global economic downturn and India’s strained higher education system have caused concern in some quarters. This article outlines recent trends in U.S.India exchange and presents results from an IIE survey of Indian students’ perceptions, arguing overall that the future of U.S.-India exchange is bright. Renewed Interest in Expanding Educational Ties High-level government officials in both India and the United States have gone on record recently with vocal support for expanding the U.S.-India educational exchange relationship in the coming months and years. Observers are optimistic that U.S.-India exchange is headed toward renewal and increased engagement, or toward a “new era,” as stated by U.S. Department of State Under Secretary for Political Affairs William J. Burns. The recent visit of Kapil Sibal, India’s Minister of Human Resource Development, raised additional hopes when a meeting with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan resulted in a pledge on both sides to establish a U.S.-India Education Council. The U.S.-India relationship is receiving focused attention at the highest levels of leadership, as seen in the recent state visit of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to the United States, the first of Barack Obama’s presidency. As Singh said during the visit, “Both countries must work together to support each other’s growth, prosperity.” At the time of its independence from the British in 1947, India had only about 20 universities and 500 colleges. Although that number has today grown to an impressive 400 universities and 21,000 colleges, making India’s higher education system one of the largest in the world, only a small number of select Indian institutions are able to offer a high-quality education to students. This is, in part, why over 160,000 Indian students travel abroad each year to meet their educational needs. The growing academic mobility between the U.S. and India is due in no small part to the recent boom in the Indian economy, a success story of a developing nation on a sharp trajectory of sustained growth of over 6.5 percent even during the global downturn. This, coupled with the fact that the rapidly expanding Indian middle class places high priority on providing its children with the best available education, presents a timely opportunity for investment and partnership with the Indian education sector. But the reverse side of the story of India’s phenomenal growth is that the country has a population of over 600 million under 25 years of age, a group that is not only India’s greatest asset but that also has the potential to become a liability unless it is adequately educated and trained to succeed in today’s knowledge economy and globalized world. With over 60 percent of the population below 25 years and less than 12 percent of the relevant age group having access to higher education (with an even smaller proportion having access to quality education), India needs to provide quality higher education to reap the demographic benefits of a young population. Perceptions and Attitudes toward the U.S. among Indian Students In order to better understand the attitudes and perceptions of Indian students toward the United States, IIE conducted a survey in India during summer 2009 of over 1,000 prospective Indian students. Students were surveyed on their preferred study abroad destinations, their reasons for studying abroad, the major obstacles they faced and their main sources of information on study abroad, as well as their opinions of the U.S. as a potential study abroad destination compared to five other key host destinations. The survey, conducted on behalf of the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, resulted in three major findings: • The U.S. is the destination of choice for the majority of respondents, with

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of IIE Networker - Spring 2010

IIE Networker - Spring 2010
Message from Allan E. Goodman
IIE Networker University Presidents Interview Series: Professor Tan Chorh Chuan, President, National University of Singapore (NUS)
2010 IIE Andrew Heiskell Awards: Best Practices in International Education
U.S.-India Exchange: Ready for a “New Era”?
Using Social Media to Recruit Indian Students Rahul Choudaha, World
Advancing Sustainability: Alcoa Foundation ProgramServes as Catalyst for Greater International Collaboration for Universities
A New Frontier in China for the University of Montana
The View from Vietnam: Perceptions of Prospective
When Meaningful Partnerships Work: Developing World-Class Indonesian Geoscientists
Rising Demand from Southeast Asian Professionals for Tertiary Executive Education Programs: When Quality Matters
Advertisers’ Index
IIE Program Profile

IIE Networker - Spring 2010