Strengthening Partnership in Education Sector between Canada and India Is Need of the Hour


Indo-Canadian delegates participated in the “Vibrant Gujarat” summit in Gandhinagar

Dr. Nivedita Das Kundu

York Center for Asian Research’s, Canada-India Project for Research and Innovation (CIPRI) along with Canada-India Foundation (CIF) participated in a Higher Education Forum in New Delhi and in Gandhinagar between 15 to 19 January 2019.

The focus of the Forum was to establish linkages between different stakeholders in India and in Canada in the education sector. This visit by the Indo-Canadian delegates was characterized as significant step forward to develop mutually beneficial projects in education sector between Canada and India.

Canada and India have long-standing bilateral relationships built upon shared traditions of democracy, pluralism, strong interpersonal connections and longstanding people-to-people ties. The two countries have embarked on a process aimed at improving and expanding their bilateral connections.

Indo-Canadian delegates participated in the “Vibrant Gujarat” summit in Gandhinagar, which is held every two years since 2003. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who used to be a chief Minister of Gujarat over the period 2001 to 2014, was the initiator of the “Vibrant Gujarat”.

Today this summit evolved into a platform for brainstorming on agendas of global socio-economic development, to being a facilitator for knowledge sharing and forging effective partnerships in various sectors. The CIPRI-CIF delegates participated in the summit along with other significant countries delegates such as delegates from Uzbekistan, France, Australia, Denmark, Canada, Japan, Russia, the Netherlands, and Norway.

During this visit there were number of sessions and meetings attended by CIPRI-CIF deligates. The meetings in New Delhi started with High Commission of Canada.

The Session at the High Commission focused on the critical understanding in a year when federal elections are scheduled both in Canada and in India. The session with CII (Confederation of Indian Industries) a non-government, not-for-profit, industry-led and industry-managed organization was very constructive.

The discussion at CII was based on possible cooperation in education sector, organizing joint workshops, conducting joint projects etc. CIPRI Director along with Seneca Collage faculty and CIF officials participated as speaker in a Seminar on “Education and Skills Development”, at PHD Chamber of Commerce in New Delhi.

The seminar in PHD Chamber of Commerce focused on the impact of technological innovation that has transformed education from its pure theoretical underpinnings to an application-based acquisition of knowledge and skills.

The Roundtable discussion with Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS), a New Delhi based autonomous policy research institute, had good interaction on the topic of strengthening policy coherence on international economic issues and on the development partnership canvas along with leading policy makers from Indian government and private sectors.

The international universities conclave organized by Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University (PDPU) in Gandhinagar as a part of Vibrant Gujrat also addressed many significant points of improving higher education and for developing global connectivity. CIPR-CIF delegates participated as a panelist in the session on ‘Opportunities for cooperation between Indian and Foreign Universities’. During the Vibrant Gujarat Summit in Gandhinagar the discussion with CIPRI-CIF delegates took place with Mayor of Ahmedabad, with the Deputy Chief Minister and Chief Minister and Chief Minister of Gujarat.

Presently the “Vibrant Gujarat Summit” has turned from a regional investment fair into a unique international forum where experts could exchange ideas, knowledge and carry out networking to jointly understand new collaboration opportunities. The “Vibrant Gujrat” forum has become a platform for achieving numerous joint agreements between the communities of different countries. As per the report and analyses the total number of agreements reached within the framework of the “Vibrant Gujarat” demonstrated positive outcomes.

The aim of this visit by the Indo-Canadian delegates was to identify possibilities and emerging opportunities between Canadian and Indian education sectors. The objective was to bring together the ideas to identify partnership possibilities. Issues of collaboration around policy research, resource building and knowledge sharing were discussed.

The deliberations highlighted the ways of overcoming challenges effectively, seize opportunities and develop them informed by best-practices in collaborative methods. India and Canada do not compete against each other, rather they complement each other. However, the need of the hour is to re-inject more energy and commitment into the relationship. The current level of interaction is far below the potential. It is expected that these interactions will facilitate tapping the synergies in developing ties between the two commonwealth nations and will try to cover various dimensions and share views and perspectives.

The meeting with Member of Parliament Anurag Thakur in Delhi concluded by signing a MOU with CIF for taking meritorious students  from India to Canada for an experiential tour for the educational purpose.

Dr. Nivedita Das Kundu, (Ph.D) is Director, Canda-India Project for Research and Innovation, York Centre for Asian Research, York University, Toronto