An English college principal is helping to forge stronger links in further education between the UK and India.
Dame Asha Khemka, principal and chief executive of West Nottinghamshire College Group, is currently taking part in a three-day trade delegation with deputy prime minister Nick Clegg to capitalise on the new Indian government’s focus on economic growth.
The delegation, which started on Monday and runs until Wednesday, includes visits to New Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore and meetings with business leaders and representatives of the Indian government.
Dame Asha, who is also chair of Association of Colleges India, a group of 33 UK FE colleges helping India meet its demand for skills, is announcing two new projects for West Nottinghamshire College Group.
Firstly, the college is working with the Cordia Group of educational institutes to set up a new construction college in Sanghol, Punjab.
It will develop high-quality training programmes and specialist courses to meet the needs of India’s booming construction industry and much desired development of infrastructure.
It will also train the tutors that will deliver the curriculum at the new college,
Secondly, the college’s recently-launched company, bksb India, will open its new Indian headquarters in Chandigarh, which will help Indians develop their English skills.
Dame Asha said: “Although the college’s main priority will always be delivering first-class education and training to communities in Nottinghamshire and surrounding areas, income from overseas operations will make us even stronger financially; providing opportunities to further invest in our much-valued local provision.
“Furthermore, ventures such as these will enable us to better promote the global dimension of skills and jobs among our own students, which has never been more important as skilled trades become increasingly in demand not just nationally but internationally.”
By 2022, India will need to train an estimated 500 million skilled workers to service its rapidly growing economy, the country’s government has estimated.
It is particularly keen to learn from the practices of the UK further education sector and wants to emulate its community college model, in which high-skill technical courses are taught alongside more traditional trade and craft skills.
In January, a delegation visited India to agree details of the first collaboration of its kind between the two countries.
Twenty-five colleges picked by the Indian government will be partnered with UK institutions that will develop plans for how to radically overhaul the education that the Indian colleges offer.
UK to help feed India's 'hunger' for skills – Jan 2014