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More American students head for India

Last updated on: April 13, 2006 14:34 IST
For decades, a significant section of Indian students' dream was to study in the United States and work there. And now, a 'reverse trend', albeit with a smaller number to begin with, may take shape with American students coming to India for learning.

An American delegation, led by Senator Michael B Enzi, and comprised of among others by US Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, is on a mission to India to study the educational system in India and how the country is able to churn out a large number of highly-skilled professionals.

"....As Secretary of Education I am anxious to see how you all and how others around the world develop human capital and talent. Certainly you (India) have done that and you are doing that. That's why so many industries and American companies are coming here to grow and expand," Spellings told PTI.

Spellings said the team was looking forward to learn about what India was doing on innovation and competitiveness.

Earlier, she, along with Enzi and other Senators Lamar Alexander and Johnny Isakson, visited Infosys, Texas Instruments, and the GE's R&D centre in Bangalore and also met some Google officials.

Spellings said the US would encourage American students to come to India to learn and the numbers are going to "accelerate". "Yes, absolutely," she said about the expected rise in the number American students.

According to one estimate, there are around 70,000 Indian students studying in the US, while about 780 American students are learning in India.

"That's going to change overnight (more American students will come to India to learn). At Infosys, there are 300 permanent employees who will come here for six months to two years from the US and then go back. These are growing programmes and will grow overtime".

On what are the areas that American students would be keen to study in India, Spellings said it's clearly information technology. "But also systems management...things you do collaborate, leveraging all of the various things that we saw at work today at the companies we saw".

Noting that India produces a large number of highly skilled people, she said: "That's one of the pages we want to take from your book...the high quality technical base, strength of the skills...your talent pool. We have work to do on that across our country as well".

According to her, India has a large and strong technical capability, while America's assets are in the areas of creativity, problem-solving and innovation.

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Ramnath Shenoy in Bangalore