India represents a huge population that boasts an exceptionally high percentage of youth under the age of 14. In an effort to use that percentage to launch India into world leadership rankings, education has become a priority for the entire country. The Wadhwani Foundation, an Indian non-profit committed to improving the quality of life in this country, recently formed a partnership with an American community college to bring skill-based training to the youth of India. The partnership promises to provide resources to the youth of the country who want to break the cycle of poverty through post-secondary education and lucrative career options.
The New Agreement
According to a local article in the Washington Post, the agreement between the Virginia Foundations for Community College Education and the India-based Wadhwani Foundation will enable the American colleges to promote skills-based training overseas. Community colleges in this country specialize in such post-secondary education, preparing students of all ages for specific career paths. However, India schools have not been equipped to provide their growing middle class with the same benefits skills-based training offers, until the Wadhwani Foundation made education a priority in improving the standard of living in that country.
The agreement was announced by U.S. Senator Mark Warner. The democrat is a member of the five-person delegation planning a visit to various cities in India, including New Delhi, Jaipur, Hyderabad and Kolkata. The purpose of the visit is to discuss expanding relationships between the United States and India through business, defense, trade and cultural issues.
“Virginia’s two-year community colleges play a vital and unique role in our workforce training efforts,” Warner stated on the Embassy of India website. “This partnership agreement will allow Virginia’s community colleges to share their expertise and materials as we work with the Wadhwani Foundation to expand skills-based job training for India’s young people.”
What the Agreement will Do
The agreement will enable the Virginia community college system to share expertise on skills-based training that has been effectively been used by two-year schools in the state. According to a press release posted on the Embassy of India website, India will be better equipped to prepare for massive skill training upgrades that will be needed in order to fill all the positions that are expected to open up in the next few years through the country’s massive growth. By providing the Wadhwani Foundation with the know-how to train large numbers of Indians in specific industries, the country will be able to maintain a robust economy and workforce throughout the growth spurt that is expected.
The Embassy of India website states that the partnership will “leverage the combined expertise of Virginia’s Community College System in running industry-relevant, professional education sharing technical and organizational know-how, curriculum/courseware, and teacher training to enhance such programs in India.”
A Growing Need in India
In addition to this partnership, India has taken additional steps to ensure their immense population of young people gets the education they need to become world leaders within their own country. According to an article at The Hechinger Report, the Indian government is busy constructing numerous universities throughout the country in hopes that more of India’s youth population will have access to higher education. Some of the schools are even being built in poverty-stricken areas to help the children living in those regions break the cycle through a quality education.
“It has never happened in the history of India, this massive expansion of higher education,” Ved Prakash, chairman of India’s University Grants Commission, told The Hechinger Report. Prakash explained that the goal of the expansion is to increase the number of Indians between the ages of 18 and 23 who enroll in post-secondary schools from 18 percent to 30 percent by 2017. However, to reach that goal, more schools will need to be available to those with limited transportation resources. Many villages throughout the country are remote and isolated, with only unpaved roads to get in and out of the area.
The building expansion will also include a doubling of the number of Indian Institutes of Technology, world-renowned institutions that provide highly qualified workers for a wide range of industries. The increased availability of these institutions may keep more Indians studying and working at home rather than studying abroad – a current trend the Indian government is hoping to reverse. The partnership with Virginia community colleges may also provide the necessary resources and curriculum that will keep Indians studying and working in their home country.
About the Wadhwani Foundation
According to the Wadhwani Foundation website, the organization was established in 2000 by Dr. Romesh Wadhwani, a Silicone Valley entrepreneur who has a passion for improving the standards of living in India. One of the components of the Wadhwani Foundation is the Skills Colleges that are specifically designed to “meet the skill demands of a growing Indian economy and youth population,” according to the foundation’s website. The goal of the Skills Colleges is to provide three million higher education seats that are directly linked to the vocational needs of the current Indian market.
The Wadhwani Foundation, through its Skills Colleges, is already poised to meet the needs of the growing Indian workforce by training the massive youth population in specific industries that will be adding to their workforce in the future. Through the partnership between Virginia community colleges and the Wadhwani Foundation, those Skills Colleges will receive the resources, curriculum and know-how necessary to bring the Indian economy and youth population into 21st century industries.