Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey

Project Title: Capitalizing on the Demographic Dividend: Enhancing Talent Development Capacity for India and the U.S. in the 21st Century

Partner Institution: Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai


An Indo-US Higher Education Forum was held at TISS on January 11-12, 2013 with over 60 experts from the US and across India attending. The focus for the Forum and other elements of the collaboration under the OSI grant was on “Fostering State-Level Innovation in Indian HE and Skill Development.” The program covered a number of key themes needed for enhancing India’s HE and skills capacity: Institutional Governance and Performance Management, Vocational Education and Training, State and local education innovations.


The OSI grant collaboration has become closely integrated with formulating the Indian Government’s new RUSA or Rashtriya Uchcha Shiksha Abhiyan (National Higher Education Mission), a key portion of India’s XIIth five-year plan. The 2nd day of the Indo-US HE Forum was used as one of four regional RUSA consultations across India with multiple stakeholders to formalize the new policy design and its implementation strategy. Mr. R.P. Sisodia, IAS, Joint Secretary, Higher Education, MHRD and Professor Ventakesh Kumar of TISS, discussed the key elements of the reform strategy with representatives from 9 states and other experts. The feedback from the rich discussion will be incorporated into the next draft of the RUSA document before it goes forward to be enacted by the Indian Government. In conjunction with the HE Policy Forum, a planning session was conducted for the HE Leadership Academy with an Indian expert advisory board for US study trip for leaders of the School of Vocational Education (SVE).


During the January visit to Mumbai, Professor David Finegold of Rutgers met with the Vice Chancellor, Pro-VC and faculty of Shreemati Nathibai Damodar Thackersey (SNTD), India’s first women’s university. A range of possible collaborations were identified, including Women’s Studies, Global Health, Study Abroad, continuing and online education.


Prof. Finegold also visited V-Excel Trust in Chennai that is doing pioneer work in providing education, training and workforce development opportunities for the learning disabled. V-Excel was founded by Dr. Vasudha Prakash, who is a social entrepreneur and professional academician who holds a doctorate in Special Education from Rutgers. A meeting was held with the government minister in charge of programs for individuals with disabilities to discuss possible ways of partnering. Dr. Prakash then took part in the Indo-US HE Forum to discuss the possibility of gaining university accreditation for V-Excel’s educational programs.


To increase the flow of US students to India, Visvesvaraya Technological University (VTU), Rutgers, and their partners have developed the capacity to offer summer and full year programs in India for American students. These programs are to be structured around themes with associated internships, programmatic seminars and language and cultural studies courses. Some of the thematic areas in which internships can be organized are - sustainable engineering, environment, ecology, public health, international trade, marketing, hospitality, teaching.


Image courtesy of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences