India is committed to strengthen bilateral relationship with Canada, Union Minister of State for HRD Daggubati Purandeswari has said, as both the countries stepped up efforts to cement ties in the field of education.
“Education can no longer be considered a goal in itself, but rather should be considered a powerful driver of socio-economic change,” the MoS for HRD (Higher Education), Purandeswari said while delivering the key note address at the Canada-India Education Summit at Carleton University on Saturday.
“The relationship between the two countries has come so far over the past five years,” she said, commending the leadership of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.“We look forward to accelerating deliverables as part of the Canada-India Memorandum of Understanding in higher education cooperation,” Purandeswari added.
Referring to education reforms in India, Purandeswari said that the reforms were being implemented to improve India’s education system, emphasizing the importance of access for people in poverty and living in less-served rural areas.
Purandeswari said that the Right to Education Act and the Foreign Education Bill, the Skills Development Council that has been created under the Prime Ministers’ Office to make education system relevant to the needs of Indian society and economy.
Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird reaffirmed Canada’s relationship with India and said said it was on upswing.
He said: “Canada sees the Summit as an important step in developing bilateral academic relations after the signing ofthe bilateral Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Education during PM Manmohan Sing’s visit in June last year. Baird extended support to the Centre of Excellence on India Canada relations at Carleton and referred to the USD 10 million budgetary provision for an India Canada research centre. Purandeswari invited Minister Baird to visit India and he accepted the invitation. High Commissioner for India to Canada Shashishekhar Gavai said that India’s high growth rate makes it attractive to foreign investors.”
“Without an adequate, educated, and trained workforce, it is very difficult to maintain high economic growth I strongly believe that foreign universities can add enormous value to what we would be doing in India,” Gavai said.
The Summit, being organised in association with the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada and Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute, is the first ever summit between India and Canada and nearly 50 Vice Chancellors and Executive Heads from Indian and Canadian universities, are attending the five day conference.
Prominent participants from India include Dr. M S Swaminathan, architect of India’s “Green Revolution” in agriculture, and Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha);Prof. Ved Prakash, UGC Chairman; IGNOU Vice Chancellor Prof. V N Rajasekharan Pillai; Delhi University Vice Chancellor Prof. Dinesh Singh; Calcutta University Vice Chancellor Dr.Suranjan Das; Panjab University Vice Chancellor Prof. R.C. Sobti; Prof. A M Pathan, Vice Chancellor, Central University of Karnataka and Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute President Dr.Sunaina Singh.