By Gurmukh Singh
Toronto,(IANS) In a bid to woo more Indian students to Canadian universities and colleges, former Canadian foreign minister Pierre Pettigrew Tuesday launched the Canada India Education Council (CIEC) here.
He will serve as the chairman of the new educational body and noted Indo-Canadian lawyer Kam Rathee will be its chairman.
"I was very committed to Canada-India relations when I was the foreign minister and I will bring the same passion to the Canada India Education Council,'' said Pettigrew, who also held many other portfolios in the Canadian cabinet till 2006, in his opening remarks.
Since Canada gets less than 4,000 Indian students compared to 40,000 going to Australia and 80,000 to the US, he said, "We should tell Indians that Canada is such a unique country. We should tell that that our education system will make them much more knowledgeable individuals.''
Kam Rathee, who as former president of the Canada-India Business Council (C-IBC) has taken many educational delegations to India, said the new body will fill the gap in the education field between the two countries.
"Of late, India has been the flavour of international business community, and this includes us who are in the business of education. Recent events in the field of education in India - the bill to right to education and allow foreign universities to set up campuses - reflect a strong surge at the governmental, public and private sector level,'' Rathee told IANS.
At the same timee, he said, Canada's most powerful province Ontario, with Toronto as its capital, has decided "to alleviate its deficit by increasing the number of students coming from India. But what is missing is a bridge between the two countries to make this happen...and the CIEC will be that bridge.''
Rathee said: "Brand Canada' is non-existent in India and the CIEC will endevour to fix it."
He said the Canada India Education Council will have a strong "social, legal and physical' presence in both India and Canada to 'operate exclusively and strategically within the burgeoning Canada-India education corridor.''
The new body will regularly take education delegations to India and invite Indian educationists to Canada.