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'Foreign varsities can make Indian education job-oriented'

Thursday November 17, 2011 06:48:17 PM, Anjali Ojha, IANS

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 Delhi.

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 IANS.

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 more job-oriented.

"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 added.

The vice chancellor revealed that Indian students, after the Chinese, formed the highest number of international students in their university.

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 Institution Bill.

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





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