Five Indian universities have received grants from the University Grants Commission (UGC) to create the Connect India Program (CIP), a revolutionary new initiative that plans to educate US-based students on the cultural and societal histories of India.
Jawaharlal Nehru University, and the Universities of Calcutta, Delhi, Hyderabad, and Mysore are all part of the pilot program that hopes to bring around 200 US students to Indian universities each semester within the next couple of years, reports The Times of India. CIP will institute a course of study that will include lessons on India’s culture, heritage, religions, languages, and other such fields of interest.
These courses will last about 4-6 weeks each, and will act as a “crash course” in the major points of Indian history. The program could officially launch as soon as this October or November, while students will actually begin coming to India at some point next year. The schools are keen to hold the courses during vacation times in India, so that faculty has spare time to devote to teaching.
CIP was first proposed as part of the US-India Higher Education Dialogue, which was conducted between the two nations almost exactly two years ago. While it hasn’t been disclosed exactly how much money each of the five schools will obtain from the UGC, University of Calcutta vice-chancellor Suranjan Das revealed to TOI that his school will receive a total of Rs. 100 lakh (Rs. 1 crore, or around $16,666).
Education has long been a cornerstone of the US-India relationship, but traffic has been largely one-way. While India remains one of the biggest suppliers of students to US colleges and universities, US students going to India has remained relatively scarce. Both nations have expressed an interest in changing that, particularly during the US-India Higher Education Summit in 2011, and now it looks like that could finally happen.
Full details have not yet been released regarding the courses, nor has any information been released saying if each university will teach the exact same courses. Each school has its own strengths and weaknesses, so it will be interesting to see if these courses will be adapted to suit the talents of each school’s faculty, or if they will be the same curricula being taught in all five places. (The American Bazaar)