New Delhi, Nov 5 : Calling stricter immigration policies bad for the US, University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel has said that it is important for higher education institutes to educate children to be global citizens who respect people of different cultures and background.
"One of the great advantages that the US has had historically is that it is an attractive destination for smart hard working people to come and study and learn and sometimes work in the US. Many of us are working to go back to policies which are more open," Schlissel, who is on his first visit to India as President of the University of Michigan, told IANS in an interview on Tuesday.
India, Schlissel said, has been one of the university's largest global partners for almost 100 years and right now it has almost 900 students from India in undergraduate, graduate and research areas. The first course in Sanskrit was taught at U-M in 1897.
"Right now, in the areas of medical research, we have deep engagements with the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi. We have collaborations in surgery and trauma care and heart disease and cancer. Our researchers are working together and students are coming back and forth.
"We also have smaller collaborations in many universities in the country. We also have a very valuable executive education programme at our business school that for many years have been hosting executive education classes for middle and upper management from many Indian companies, including Tata industries," he said.
U-M's Institute for Social Research is working together with one of the state governments in India on identifying demographic challenges that may help guide future government policies, said the University of Michigan President, who in a lighter note, added that the pollution in Delhi reminded him of Los Angeles of the 1960s.
University of Michigan was also recently selected to host a US Presidential debate next year. The debate will be the second in a series of three Presidential debates next year prior to the November election.
"We are very excited about having being chosen to host the debate. The one we will be hosting will be on October 15, 2020, right before the important election," he said, adding that the occasion would help the university community to contribute to the country's democracy.
Education, he said, should be affordable to all students, "no matter what social class they are born", and technology can help in increasing the access to education.
"If they are talented and willing to work hard, we want to provide them access to outstanding higher education. We are also interested in being very innovative in what we teach," he said, adding that over 6,000 people in India take online courses offered by the University of Michigan.
"We want to take advantage of the fact that communications have become global and instantaneous and we are living in an era of data where we can use data and data analytics to have the best ways to teach a large number of students. At University of Michigan, we have taken advantage of the insights that come from data," he said.
A "fan of public university", Schlissel said that private universities can also play a huge role in India's education system.
"I think one of the virtues of higher education in the US is that there are many different types of universities... Some of them are public and some of them are private.
"India beginning a tradition of private universities will provide more options to some people for the type of education that might work better for them than the education they might receive in a public university," he said.
"Education is key to future global competitiveness. For India to continue to grow at this remarkable high rate it will need more and more educated citizens. The country is making the right investments," he said.
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