Rutgers University Signs Academic Agreement, Hosts Study Tour as Part of Obama-Singh Initiative Grant

Above: Ambassador Consul General of India Dnyaneshwar Mulay (left at table) signs a MOU with Rutgers Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs Richard L. Edwards. They are joined by Rutgers SMLR Dean Susan Schurman (farthest right) at the New York Indian Consulate. 


Ambassador Consul General of India Dnyaneshwar Mulay hosted a reception at the New York Indian Consulate on June 19 to inaugurate the study tour of visiting Indian researchers from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences to Rutgers University and commemorate the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Rutgers and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR). Together, the university and ICCR will establish the ICCR Chair, a visiting professor from India to Rutgers.

The MOU’s signing was attended by Rutgers students, academics, members of the business community, representatives from the New Jersey departments of education and labor and workforce development, and political dignitaries. The event recognized Rutgers as one of only four U.S.-led partnerships to receive funding, out of more than 100 applicants, of the Obama-Singh 21st Century Knowledge Initiative Grant. 

"Our participation as a recipient of the Obama-Singh 21st Century Knowledge Initiative Grant is just one of several exciting developments that allow us to build stronger ties between the two nations," said Rutgers Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Richard L. Edwards.

"The partnerships offer an exciting opportunity to unify many of the University's efforts with Indian institutions and raise our visibility," said Dr. Edwards. 

Ambassador Mulay believes that the partnership between Rutgers and India is greatly significant. He says, “It’s absolutely important that we cross-check our notes and have more exchanges of views and opinions … and I think education provides the most important and interesting platform.”

Following the MOU’s signing, Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations hosted the delegation from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences for a week in which they shared information and research on education and skills training in the U.S. and planned for the next two years of the grant.

While at Rutgers, delegation members visited Freehold Biotechnology High School, which integrates life sciences into a rigorous curriculum. In addition, they met with several faculty and staff members at Rutgers to learn more about the ways in which the American education system is evolving to meet the rapidly changing needs of tomorrow’s workforce and how India can strengthen its educational institutions and help prospective students access a higher education. They also met with New York City and New Jersey officials, community leaders, and faculty at Columbia University to share success strategies and address current educational issues.

Above: Rutgers SMLR hosts a delegation from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences.  

“The MOU and tour was a special opportunity for Rutgers to strengthen its ties to the world's largest democracy, a country to which many Rutgers students and a large number of NJ residents have personal ties,” says Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations Dean Susan Schurman. 

Almost 1,000 Indian students currently study at Rutgers. India is one of Rutgers’ five focus countries for strategic international engagement.

For India, the most pressing need is to reform its skill development system with scalable solutions that can rapidly enhance educational opportunities for 550 million Indians age 25-and-under. For the U.S., the goals are to expand the number of American students and faculty with experience in India–the world’s largest democracy and one of the most dynamic and rapidly growing economies–and to help meet India’s educational needs by expanding programs for the world’s largest pool of high potential, English-speaking students. Both nations are struggling to create enough good jobs for their growing number of graduates.

The funds from the grant support collaborative efforts between the two institutions to develop the education and training system in India and forge strong and sustainability links between Rutgers, TISS and other institutions in India. The grant will also support study abroad opportunities for American students through new programs, international service learning, internships, and dual degree opportunities. It will develop programs that foster a new generation of leaders for India’s rapidly growing higher education capacity.

Heather McKay, who assisted in organizing the study tour, says, “This study tour was a great opportunity to share ideas and research on skills development and education practices and policy with our colleagues from the Tata Institute on Social Science. As we move forward with the grant over the next two years, we will continue this process of sharing and work to develop lasting relationships for Rutgers in India.”

Read other stories of this event in MSN, Zee News, Hindu Business Line, I4U News, India Education Review, FASS News, and Business Standard