It was a very exciting Friday morning on Jan. 15 as North Florida Community College staff welcomed five delegates from India's largest state, Uttar Pradesh. NFCC was chosen as one of the three colleges and the only college in Florida for the delegates to tour.
The five delegates from Uttar Pradesh that visited the NFCC campus on Jan. 15 were Prof. Abhishek Mishra, the State Minister to Chief Minister, Minister of Vocational Education and Skill Development and part of the Uttar Pradesh Government; Rajendra Prasad-I, Director of Training and Employment of Uttar Pradesh; Manish Bhaskar Dubey of Assistant Director, Uttar Pradesh Skill Development Mission; Bhuvnesh Kuman, Secretary to Government of Uttar Pradesh in the Department of Vocational Education and Skill Development and Surendra Singh, Mission Director of Uttar Pradesh Skill Development Mission.
The visit was an extension of the Learning Systems Institute at Florida State University and Santa Fe College’s Community College Administrator Program that began in September and is funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
Along with NFCC, the delegates visited community colleges in Virginia, Tennessee and Colorado during their week long tour that began on Saturday, Jan. 9. The delegates also visited with the American Association of Community Colleges, the U.S. Department of Education, select U.S. Representatives, the U.S. Department of Labor and members of the Florida College System.
“The hospitality the United States has given [us] is amazing,” said Singh.
The purpose of the community college tours in different locations in the U.S. is a continuing effort to build a successful community college system and strengthen the career programs in India. Dr. David Tandberg of FSU hosted the NFCC tour and David Dunkle, NFCC Associate Dean of Economic Development and Technical Programs, coordinated the events and presentations on the NFCC campus. The delegates were able to learn more about the NFCC Career and Technical Education Center and career and technical programs, with special emphasis on manufacturing and emergency medical services.
“We were very impressed with the 3D printer,” said Professor Mishra about the Automation and Production Technology program. “We definitely want to start a program in 3D printing [in India].”
As leader of the group of delegates, Mishra is the Minister of Vocational Education and Skill Development and recognized as a leading politician and government official in India. He had a lot of praise to give to NFCC and was very impressed with the college's connection with the Madison community.
“The spirit of the community is phenomenal,” said Mishra.
Mishra explained that in India, there are no two-year community colleges like many communities have in the U.S., but instead there are three year college systems. Typically, a Bachelor's degree in India takes approximately three years to earn, however, the degree in engineering takes four years to earn and the degree in any medical field takes five years. By absorbing the policies and information from the colleges toured, Mishra and his group of delegates will be able to work with officials in India to improve the community colleges. Mishra was especially impressed with the numbering system in Florida and felt intrigued by the way many community colleges use a credit-counting system that transfer to different universities later on when students want to pursue a higher education.
Mishra stated that he and NFCC President John Grosskopf discussed having an exchange student program between India and NFCC.
Singh also expressed his excitement about the exchanging of ideas with Florida.
“We are definitely going to have a strong connection with Florida,” said Singh.
After their tour of NFCC, the delegates gathered together with NFCC staff to enjoy a hearty lunch.
“We are honored to take part in this monumental partnership,” said NFCC President John Grosskopf. “It is a great opportunity for all involved to build and strengthen higher education in India and the U.S.”