Indian and American Academics Talk Reform and Partnerships in New Delhi

Indian and American Academics Talk Reform and Partnerships in New Delhi 1

Candace Feit for The Chronicle

Kapil Sibal (far right), India's higher-education minister, and Martha Kanter, U.S. under secretary for education, take part in the opening ceremony of an international higher-education conference in New Delhi.

For years India has watched other Asian countries power ahead to develop their higher-education systems. China, Hong Kong, Singapore, and South Korea have all spent billions to expand access, wire campuses, build laboratories, and underwrite international partnerships. Meanwhile, the world's largest democracy has limped along with an outdated, rigid, and ill-financed higher-education system.

But could that soon change? At a higher-education conference here this week that drew about