India, China pact on higher education unlikely

March 23rd, 2008 - 11:28 am ICT by admin  

By Sanjay Singh
New Delhi, March 23 (IANS) There is a clear language barrier here. A higher educational pact between India and China is getting derailed because Indians cannot speak Chinese and the Chinese cannot speak English. “Neither has China teachers who can teach in English nor does India have teachers who can teach the Chinese language,” said a senior human resource development official who was associated with formulating a draft for the India-China educational pact.

The draft, which would have allowed free flow of students between the two countries and ensured mutual recognition of degrees, has been gathering dust in the human resource development (HRD) ministry for over a year.

However, the official was categorical that the unrest in Tibet had nothing to do with the delay.

Language is one of the key hurdles in the way of finalizing the pact, an official stressed. Only a few Asian countries have such tie-ups with China, which has been recruiting teachers from the West as well as India to teach its people English.

In fact, educational exchange programmes between the two countries are getting affected by the language crunch. India needs Chinese teachers or teachers from within the country to teach Chinese.

According to the draft text, India and China will have nodal bodies to assist each other in preparing and maintaining a list of all recognised higher educational institutions in their respective countries. This will be updated and shared regularly.

A graduate from any of the listed institutes in India or China can apply for a post-graduate course in the other country.

According to statistics available with the Indian consulate in Shanghai, around 6,800 Indian students are studying in China. The main draw is the cheap fee structure.

According to HRD ministry officials, fewer than a thousand Chinese students are currently studying in India. On an average, between 400 and 600 Chinese students apply for visas to India every year.

Initially, it was expected that the pact would open up India as an educational destination for Chinese students, as comparable to the West. Chinese students form the largest block of foreign students the world over.

The pact would have taken care of one of the key problems faced by Indian students in China who find their degrees are not recognised or are considered below par by Chinese educational institutions.

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