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Sibal looks for long term education collaboration with US

world Updated: Oct 14, 2011 14:54 IST

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Minister for human resources development Kapil Sibal has said the "purposeful dialogue" at the India-US education summit would open doors for greater collaboration between higher education institutes but India would be careful to ensure no "fly by night operators" set up shop in the country.

He said the dialogue process will enable US-based community colleges to find partners and establish footprint in India but added that "for profit companies" were not welcome in India for now.

He said initially the collaboration between US and Indian educational institutes would involve twinning arrangements, joint degrees, certification and diploma courses and skill development.

"I don't think that we will have Harvard, Yale or Princeton coming in and setting up campuses in India. I doubt that very much, I don't think that is our vision either," Sibal told reporters here after the conclusion of the day long summit that he co-chaired with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

He said it is important for the US educators to first get a feel of the Indian terrain and its complexities.

"Once they feel a level of comfort in moving in that terrain then they will think in long term of bringing the institutions to India," he said.

While opening its doors to US educational institutes, Sibal said India will be cautious to ensure no "fly by night operators" set up shop in the country.

Sibal added that for the time being "for profit companies" would also not be allowed to come to India.

"I don't think that the time is right for that to happen. We need expansion in skills development sector," he said.

The foreign institutions will be subjected to the same laws as are applicable to private educational institutes in India.

"There will be no discrimination and no favouritism. We will give them a level playing field," he said.

At the same time, he said: "Nobody is going to come to India to give to India without anything in return. Let us be clear on that. We have to provide them with the opportunities in which we believe that we can gain and there is something in it for them as well".

Sibal said he would not want investment to come to India only because foreign education institutes want profits to go out of the country.

"That is not the model I am looking at or even wanting to encourage. I don't want India to be a ground in which on the fees that our children have to pay them for their studies they will give dividends to their shareholders".

He said his expectation was to see a level of interest which gives confidence to India that the Americans truly want to be genuine partners in this entreprise.

"If that was my expectation I think this (summit) was a great success," as there is commitment from the US side of setting up community colleges in India and ensuring that the dialogue process is a long-term one.

Noting that there was "purposeful dialogue" at the summit, Sibal said he did not expect to announce setting up of 100 US universities in India at the first summit itself.