Indian Ambassador to the U.S. visits BCTC to discuss role of community colleges

Indian AmbassadorIndian Ambassador to the United States Nirupama Rao visited Bluegrass Community & Technical College (BCTC) today and spoke with college administration about the role of BCTC and ways community colleges might be adapted for India.

According to the 2011 Indian Census, almost 70 percent of the country's population lives in rural areas. While the level of urbanization is increasing in India, education in rural areas still lags. But offering affordable and quality educational opportunities in underserved areas has become a governmental priority.

"We are especially focused on the youth and how to build better lives," Ambassador Rao said during her visit.

The U.S. State Department recently hosted a Higher Education Dialogue between U.S. and India. It focused on the role of community colleges in workforce development and also the robust cooperation between U.S. and Indian educational sectors. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Indian Minister for Human Resource Development Kapil Sibal co-chaired the dialogue.

"The economy today and tomorrow will favor workers with twenty-first century skills," said Under Secretary of State for Public Affairs and Public Diplomacy Tara Sonenshine in a video follow-up to the U.S.-India Higher Education Dialogue. "Together we can build an educational foundation for a knowledge-based economy."

With more than 100,000 Indian students studying in the U.S. each year and more than 3 million Indian-Americans living in the U.S., it is important for the U.S. and India to work together on education.

"People-to-people ties are building bridges between our two countries," Ambassador Rao said. Higher education is a pillar of this partnership.

Ambassador Rao assumed her responsibilities as Ambassador of India to the United States in September 2011. She is married to Sudhakar Rao, a distinguished civil servant and former member of the Indian Administrative Service who retired as the Chief Secretary of the State Government of Karnataka.