US wants its students to study the importance of India

The US State Department has launched a six-week online course to highlight the importance of India


The Passport to India initiative seeks to increase the number of young Americans annually learning in India on study abroad and internship programs. Photo: Bloomberg
The Passport to India initiative seeks to increase the number of young Americans annually learning in India on study abroad and internship programs. Photo: Bloomberg

New Delhi: The US government wants its students to know more about India—from its ancient trade history to the present day start-up ecosystem as the country’s growth story may have “far-reaching implications” on the “life and career” of the young Americans.

The US State Department, in collaboration with the Ohio State University, has launched a six-week online course beginning Monday, days before Prime Minister Narendra Modi begins his US visit later this week, to highlight the importance of India.

The course, developed through a grant from the US Department of State’s Passport to India initiative, is designed to introduce people of all backgrounds and ages to India and its potential as a destination for study, research, work and entrepreneurship. The Passport to India initiative seeks to increase the number of young Americans annually learning in India on study abroad and internship programs.

The course recognizes India’s growing importance in business, world economy and its pure human story.

The course details, available on online platform Coursera, says: “By the time a current college student is the same age as their parents are today – the world will have changed dramatically. India’s importance is growing by the day and could very well have far-reaching implications for your life and career.”

It underlines that two of the rising trends of the coming decades are the re-emergence of Asia and technological change. India is at the heart of both trends and shares much in common with the US, the course brief underlines.

It says that at the current pace of change, “we may see:

•In 10 years, India positioned to overtake China and have the world’s largest population •In 20 years, New Delhi overtaking Tokyo as the world’s largest city •In 30 years, India could overtake China and the US as the world’s largest economy.”

“Whatever your interests, this course will help you” develop a more informed perspective on the importance of India. The sheer diversity and scale of India are reasons enough for making India not just important, but fascinating too, says the course details.

Last week, in a joint statement, US Ambassador to India Richard Verma said that his government’s Passport to India initiative is “designed to encourage more American students to consider studying in India”. He had pointed out that while there were 130,000 Indian students in the US last year, the number of American students in India remained relatively low—4,500.

Each week, the course will explore one key theme related to India’s impact on the world—from India’s ancient trade relations with the Roman Empire to the rapidly growing startup ecosystem of now. In the last week, the course shall allow students to explore the “study, internship, and startup business opportunities in India along with references and advice for how to get a start in India”, said Coursera in the joint statement.

The course is taught by Brian D. Joseph, a professor at the Ohio State University along with Nick Booker, executive director of Passport to India initiative.

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