Education, for President Pranab Mukherjee, has always been an issue close to the heart. In his two-day state visit to Bhutan, Mukherjee brought the education sector to the forefront of the vibrant Indo-Bhutan friendship.
In his address at the charming convention centre, Mukherjee announced a slew of sops, flagged off the much-awaited education reforms programme and said, ”One of the things that I have learned from my long association with Bhutan is that there is so much more to be learned from the way of life and philosophy of the people here.”
New Delhi enhanced the value of Indian Ambassador Scholarship Fund from Rs 1 crore per annum to Rs 2 crore. Mukherje added, “education has been an important priority for Bhutan. We have, in the past, and will continue in the future , to offer seats in India’s premier educational institutes for Bhutanese friends.”
IIM-Ahmedabad signed a MoU with Royal Service Commission of Bhutan for quality training of Bhutanese public servants. IIM professor Anil Gupta told HT, “This is the
first such effort of an IIM with a SAARC country.”
The Royal University signed two other MoUs with National Innovation Foundation and Hyderabad-based English and Foreign Languages university for enhancing innovation in education and consultancy services in English language, respectively.
The icing in the cake was the school education reforms programme where India will help 49 select schools expand their capacities. Mukherjee’s flight came to Paro with loads of text books for these schools.
The joint statement at the end of the visit, reaffirmed the “excellent state of bilateral ties” and the two sides have agreed to continue their close coordination and cooperation.