Indian students have a perception that quantitatively measured academic achievements are the key to success. However, the truth is that the more students look beyond the traditional academic achievements, the more they get to explore and grow in their career.
Marie Royce, assistant secretary of state, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, US department of State, on her recent visit to India highlighted the need to look beyond purely academic systems. Talking to
Education Times on the sidelines of the US-India Educational Foundation (USIEF) event to mark the 70th anniversary of Fulbright, Marie spoke of how educational exchange activities between India and the US has led to great results in the past decades.
“Fulbright Program is an incredibly robust system that intends to allow students from all walks of streams to use their abilities. It is not simply for those hailing from STEM background,” says Marie. “Fulbright is for students passionate about their subject and the work they are dedicated to. This includes subjects such as arts, business, economics, and also journalism. So, if you think about it, there is just about every area that a student could look at,” she adds. “I would encourage students to reach out if they are interested in other parts, for example, arts, public administration, among others. One of the things that we are also actively promoting is entrepreneurship. There are a number of students or young people who are interested in taking the entrepreneurial route.
Therefore, I would say that there is a right opportunity for every individual,” says Marie. With as many as 4,700 universities and community colleges in the US, with every kind of major, school for every type of price point, Indian students can explore their potential to the fullest.
“The community college system in the US allows students to study by spending less money. Several Americans study in community colleges, and majority of them go on to finish their higher education including PhDs,” she adds.
Having worked as a professor in a polytechnic university, Marie is a strong follower of the concept of ‘learning by doing’ in colleges. “We promote students who are interning and trying out what they were learning in the classroom. Hence, it is not just rote, as the real big part of American education is to promote academic freedom,” adds Marie.
The Fulbright Program, created by Senator J William Fulbright in 1946, was designed to boost mutual ties between the US and the people of other countries. It has now grown into the premier US international educational exchange programme in the world. For over 70 years, Fulbright has offered opportunities to 3,90,000 American and foreign scholars and students. Since its inception, USIEF has awarded nearly 11,128 Fulbright Fellowships to Indians and Americans.