New Delhi: As India
and Scotland forge new ties in education, Scottish education
experts say foreign varsities can not only fill the huge
demand-supply gap in this field but also help make education more
job-oriented in the country.
On a visit to India, Scottish Education Secretary Michael Russell
told IANS, "There are similarities in the system of education in
India and Scotland.
"We have over 4,000 Indian students in Scotland and a strong
alumni base here. We cannot go everywhere. So we have to choose,"
the Scottish MP said.
"Indian students are successful at research and India has enormous
challenges as a country in the field of education," he added.
According to Scottish government officials, some 20 varsities from
Scotland are in collaboration with Indian institutes.
Russell gave the inaugural address at the first overseas campus of
the Scottish University of Strathclyde at Greater Noida near
The education secretary was also present at the signing of a pact
between Scotland's Edinburgh Napier University and Sikkim Manipal
University of India.
Dame Joan K. Stringer, vice chancellor of Scotland's premier
Edinburgh Napier University, said India was one of the most
dynamic economies to tie up with.
"India is one of the world's largest and most dynamic economies
and we are delighted to celebrate our partnership," Stringer told
The Scottish educationist said the gap in demand and supply in the
field of education in India was a major challenge.
"There are great challenges in India. There is a gap in demand and
supply because you cannot keep up fast enough with the faculty and
institutional growth according to the demand," said Stringer,
adding "that is where the private universities and foreign
universities come in".
Stringer said foreign universities could help in making education
"In our university, more than 90 percent of students get jobs. On
the other hand, 70 percent students in India remain unemployable
according to various reports," she said.
"That is where we can help. What Indian universities have to learn
is giving attitude and skills to make students employable," she
The vice chancellor revealed that Indian students, after the
Chinese, formed the highest number of international students in
She also pinned hope on the passage of upcoming education reforms
for more universities setting up campuses in India.
"As far as establishing a physical presence is concerned, we can't
do that presently. But once there will be some relaxation in the
higher education bill, that will help," she said.
A series of bills for reforms in higher education are currently
pending with the Indian parliament and the human resource
development ministry which includes a Foreign Educational
It provides for regulation and operations of foreign educational
institutions in the country.
"The Indian economy is one of the fastest growing in the world and
they are experiencing heavy demand in sectors where Scotland has
key expertise such as energy, education and banking," Russell had
said in a release earlier this month.
(Anjali Ojha can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)