US Education Secretary Praises Sibal at White House Briefing

United States Education Secretary Arne Duncan/

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Washington – The United States on Tuesday praised Kapil Sibal, the Indian Minister for Human Resources and Development, before the arrival of the Indian delegation next week to participate in the joint Education Summit under the third US-India Strategic Dialogue, to be held on June 13.

“We have a great working relationship with my counterpart in India. He is a man, I think, of tremendous vision and courage,” the United States Education Secretary Arne Duncan told White House correspondents during a briefing.

Hoping that India will increase its literacy levels, Duncan said, “I think there’s a chance to provide a much better education for hundreds and hundreds and thousands of young people in India,” adding, “Whatever we can do to help as they build the next system of community colleges, as they scale up what’s working, as American institutions start to set up campuses in India, we want to be a great partner.”

Responding to questions about the upcoming Strategic Dialogue, Duncan said, “I just absolutely believe that a rising tide lifts all boats. And the more young people across India are getting a world-class education, that’s a great thing for your country and for ours as well.”

Earlier on Monday, addressing a select audience of journalists and leaders of the Indian American community at the US-India World Affairs Institute in Washington DC, Robert Blake, US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, disclosed that there will also be an announcement at the Dialogue of the “first eight partnership projects to be funded jointly by the United States and India through the Obama-Singh 21st Century Knowledge Initiative.”

“These three-year, approximately quarter-million dollar grants will be used for joint projects between American and Indian universities in the areas of food security, energy, climate change and public health, among others,” Blake said.

Another new Passport to India initiative is set to significantly increase the number of Americans who visit India for a study and learning experience, said Blake, citing an effort to increase the number of US students in India from a meager 4,000 at present, while there are nearly 104,000 Indians studying in the United States. (IATNS)

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