Highlights of 'Ed-Mission' (Nov 16-26, 2008):
  • Explore opportunities in the burgeoning Canada-India education corridor & meet key stake holders. Profile building will also support new branding initiative to be coordinated by DFAIT for approved brand users at FICCI.
  • Network with potential partners, affiliates and delivery providers. Focused site visits per city (eg. Studio/Animation school visits in Mumbai, IT related visits in Bangalore...)
  • Establish key linkages for JV's, 'feeder institutions', 'India campus' and faculty| student exchanges & recruiting.
  • Introduction meetings set up with local NGO's, State and Central Government bodies.
  • Learn about developments in the Governments new 'liberalized' education policy & establish branding in India.
  • Briefings on Canadian immigration and possible visits to Canadian visa offices & take a look 'behind the scenes'. Meet Visa officers| Trade Commissioners.
  • Strategic & meaningful accompaniment to FICCI's Higher Education Summit in Delhi (Nov 24-26).
Post mission, we received several accolades and compliments which can be summarized as follows. “As a first-time visitor to India, it was incredibly helpful to have someone else looking after the logistics and arranging key meetings. The tour was broad-based, and a very good introduction to a complex country”.
Another delegate stated that…”The Ed-Mission provided a useful introduction to India and a wide range of its institutions related to higher education”.
Dr. Murray Lindsay from the University of Lethbridge added “Education is a key priority for the Indian government. Moreover with the globalization of business and the dawn of India becoming an economic superpower, it is important for business schools to cultivate significant relationships with Indian institutions. This mission (led by C-IBC and ICE) has provided the University of Lethbridge with the opportunity to make personal connections with institutions, gain valuable insight into the Indian educational landscape and determine how best to collaborate with Indian partners in mutually beneficial ways”.
Michener Institute was represented by Dr. Karim Bandali who stated “India is a dynamic place with unmistakable and significant potential. In our ever-evolving global economy it is essential that we cultivate and develop educational opportunities for the international minds of the future. The 2008 Ed-Mission is a manifestation of just such a philosophy where the objective is to build the necessary relationships to unleash the burgeoning potential of Canada and India as nations of the 21st Century”.
Another delegate Dr. Grant Gardner representing Memorial University from New Foundland added that “I've been very pleased at the high quality of the students we've met and the enthusiasm to find out more about Canada and our programs. Memorial University is very pleased at the opportunities that Ed-Mission '08 is providing to make links with Indian students & faculty so that we can investigate ways of working together on joint research and teaching initiatives. Even though we've only been only 1/3 through the mission, we have already made some excellent connections”.
Keith Taylor from Dalhousie who was also on his solemn visit to India said “India is emerging as a world economic power and its universities and colleges are developing more and more excellent research and education programs. It is very much in the interest of Dalhousie University to develop substantial long term partnerships in key areas where there are natural fits of institutional strength. Ed-Mission'08 is proving to be a valuable aid in establishing and renewing strategic partnerships”.
In Mumbai, we were invited by the Indian Merchants Chamber (IMC) to a reception on Nov 17 which was very well attended and several follow up appointments were booked between our delegates and the Indian educationists.
We were in Bangalore on Nov 20 at the behest of the Karnataka Chamber of Commerce and Industry at a well organized reception and met hundreds of local colleges and Universities that are interested in expanding their international operations. After an introduction by the President of FKCCI, Mr. D Muralidhar who asked Husain and Kam to speak on the occasion, it was an honor to introduce the various delegates who aroused keen interest from the Indian institution attendees. Mr. J Crasta, the Senior VP of FKCCI wrapped up the evening around 9pm followed by a private dinner hosted at a local restaurant.
On the 22nd of November, the delegation was invited to the residence of the Advisor to the NIRD (National Institute of Rural development) and we met with members of Parliament, Ministers and other dignitaries who shared ideas of how the 2 counteries could cooperate on strategic initiatives. Preceding that was a visit to SunLife Financial, their fully owned BPO operation in Gurgaon and met key directors and other personnel. The delegation toured their campus and discussed techniques and the merits and saw a world class operation al world class Canadian exercise of outsourcing and its merits.
Nov 23 was a day of rest marked with sightseeing and mission reflections. The 11 delegates traveled in a convoy of 3 vehicles and saw several landmarks in Delhi before retiring to the hotel by dusk.
A visit to the Centre for Canadian Studies at the University of Delhi was conducted on the morning of Nov 24 to meet with Dr. KRG Nair and Dr. VK Vasal , Director of the Centre. After a brief presentation by the Canadian delegates, we had a rather productive dialogue between the 2 sides on the topic of promoting Canadian education in India and vice versa. The centre has been operating since 1992 under the leadership of Dr. Nair who underscored the different facets using collaborative research, corporate social responsibility and theory of social gains and academic mobility. On the topic of student exchanges and global meltdown impacting student mobility and creating corporate world including corporate interface. Another topic of discussion was increasing summer internship programs either as credit yielding or non credit. He pointed out that the ideal time to administer the internship program would be May/June when the country has its summer vacations. The 2 semesters typically operate between mid July to early November and mid December to late April.
On Nov 24, we visited the NIRD (National Institute of Rural development) and after an initial introduction of the delegates we were shown a short film on the NIRD and a presentation of some of their PG programs by Dr. Upadhyay. We wrapped up the well attended event by 9pm after the vote of thanks by Anish Gandhi, advisor to the NIRD.
At the FICCI keynote address several speakers made interesting comments which are noted as below:
Ashok Mitra: Pushing the envelope of reform. Successful 'for profit' private Universities, land grant Universities may be an option. Agenda of reform, foreign Universities may be an area of concern. We need to discuss areas of exact modalities of seats reserved for certain categories and accept established affirmative action guidelines. The 11th plan needs examination and further scrutiny. It is important to review the political and economic impact and understand ground reality.
Prof. Ballal: We have several large Universities in India and the largest University in India as over 15,000 students. Only 63% of 450 million students are studying creating a huge opportunity. The GER (Gross enrollent ratio) is only 11% in India, 65% of India is rural but only 20% of colleges are in rural areas. The mantra of distance education is “if they can't reach us, let us reach them”. PPP has achieved excellent results. Self financing higher education institutions to create financial surplus to plow back into education not necessarily create profits. Foreign institutions can come to tie up with local institutions. Avoid exploitative profiteering and the need of the hour is to promote vocational PPP and create industry-academia partnerships.
Dr. David Johnston also added that levels of activity are headed toward critical mass. 2009 promises to be a pivotal year in our relationships between the 2 counteries.
The valedictory speech was made by Dr. Paul Evans of the Asia Pacific Foundation who urged us to act on 3 areas. Canada needs a national strategy for expanding higher education cooperation with India as part of a broader effort to deepen the foundations of bilateral ties. Secondly, Canada should set targets for expanding the number of Indian students studying at Canadian institutions, looking to raise the level to 15,000 by 2014 and ensure that at least 1,000 Canadian students take advantage of education opportunities in India and lastly since India is facing an enormous challenge in strengthening and expanding its own post secondary system, creation of “Canada-India mobility fellowships” to facilitate a year's placement for an advanced grad student or post doctoral fellow on the basis of a co-supervisory model. The aim would be to create 500 such fellowships for award over the next 5 years.
These are big ambitions that are only one step toward creating a durable and mutually rewarding relationship with an emerging India and their success depends on a new form of national leadership that includes private-public partnerships on both sides and inter-institutional and inter-governmental cooperation in both countries.
Overall, the mission was very well received and the accolades were well deserved for team C-IBC for putting on such an amazing display of coordination, planning and well orchestrated series of events and meetings. Several delegates asked for keeping them posted of future such networking and learning events.
Kam Rathee,
Acting President, C-IBC
Husain F. Neemuchwala,
Chair, Education Committee, C-IBC
Founder-President, ICE
www.Canada-IndiaBusiness.ca www.ICEunlimited.com
Canada India Business Council International Center for Education Inc.

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