(As Prepared for Delivery)
It is exciting to be here in India today at a time when more and more universities are active in areas such as student recruitment, student and faculty exchange, research, and alumni engagement. Universities are establishing centers in India, exploring dual degree programs, and considering other areas of formal and informal cooperation. In addition to strengthening institutional collaboration, the United States is also very interested in supporting student increased mobility – both to and from India – which is why we are here today.
Last year there were a record number and a record growth in the number of Indian students in the United States. More than 132,000 Indians were in the U.S. in the 2014/2015 academic year – almost a 30% increase over the year before. However, at the same time the number of American students in Indian remained relatively flat – 4,500. The United States Government’sPassport to India initiative with Ohio State University is meant to encourage more American students to consider studying in India. The six-week course will introduce students to India – many of whom might not have considered India as an option for study abroad.
I am especially excited that this online course will be delivered virtually as a MOOC or Massive Open Online Course on the Coursera platform. The MOOC format ensures that a wide array of American students who are interested in study abroad opportunities can learn about Incredible India. There will always be a need for and premium placed on quality in-person instruction. But more and more this will be complemented by, and in some cases replaced, with virtual delivery. The Passport to India initiative is just one part of our ongoing efforts to promote student mobility. I want to take a moment to highlight the important work of another USG initiative that serves to support and advise Indian students interested in study in the U.S.: our EducationUSA program.
EducationUSA is the official source for information on U.S. higher education. Our EducationUSA Centers are located in Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Bangalore. Together their 30 EducationUSA advisors assist students in accessing U.S. higher education opportunities through virtual and in-person group advising sessions, outreach presentations, and one-on-one consultations.
Last year, over 120,000 students and parents contacted one of the seven EducationUSA centers for advice. In addition, EducationUSA advisors reached more than 60,000 students through visits to local schools and universities, education fairs, and U.S. Embassy organized events. For those of you considering study in the United States, I encourage you to visit EducationUSA online at educationusa.state.gov, reach out to one of our seven centers in India, and engage in-person or virtually with an EducationUSA advisor.
Today I am excited to enroll in the new Passport to India course. I hope many of you – Americans and Indians – will also enroll over the next two months and share it with your friends, colleagues, and families that may also be interested in learning more about India.