By Farimah Schuerman, Managing Partner, Academic Business Advisors
How many of you have heard of the Obama-Singh initiative?
Image of Manohan Singh via Wikipedia
Prior to October 13 I had not, but was fortunate enough to be included in an event in Washington jointly hosted by The US State Department and that of India to further that relationship.
Some background that can set the stage:
The number of Indian students enrolled in higher education including graduate programs is roughly 100,000, second to China's nearly 200,000, but more than Korea's. Almost 1/4 of all international students in the US come from these three countries. Yet, only 3,000 US students are studying in India.
The US post secondary degree continues to be highly prized and valued. India now has 15% of their students gaining post secondary degrees, and has targeted 30% as the threshold by 2020. Typically, students in India pay between $100 and $1,000 per year.
The Obama-Singh 21st Century Knowledge Initiative, formulated between US President Barak Obama and Indian Prime Minister Manohan Singh, creates a path for higher education partnerships between US and Indian Postsecondary institutions. It provides for exchange of faculty, administrators, and postgraduate students to develop new programs of study, and promote economic development.
So, what is expected from this relationship, and what does this mean to you?
First, it will create a flurry of creativity as institutions and companies strive to create alternative models that will drive the cost of college degrees down, resulting in pressure for existing models to be more financially competitive. Second, it will make our current, traditional models more exclusive, creating greater economic tension between those who can afford those models and those that cannot. As these and newer models evolve, we are likely to see more "shopping around," and mixing and matching to make building degrees from multiple resources possible.
Another outcome is the creation of even greater global competition as the pool of qualified employees and, ultimately, knowledge workers, compete for jobs on the global front. An intended benefit is the creation of consumer populations for American goods, as well as other goods, in India and in other markets that currently offer us limited outlets for goods and services.
If India is to meet its goals, they will need an additional 1,000 universities and 50,000 colleges. That is a lot of growth, and opportunities for US institutions to participate.
American colleges and Universities have been creating remote campuses and bridging alliances with Institutions and that is likely to increase in the years ahead. If we keep the value of our degrees as high as they have been, it will be a very good outcome for our institutions, and we will benefit from the resulting innovations as well. Over the next few weeks the small grants will be announced, identifying the first few projects in the works. We'll be watching to see the results. I came away agreeing that this initiative will be a win-win, and will report to you all what we see happening over the months ahead if you are interested.
If you are interested in pursuing these opportunities, please contact us at ABA.