PREMIER Christy Clark announced Tuesday that the B.C. and Punjab governments will work together in the areas of advanced education, skills certification, agriculture and cultural exchange programs to boost economic and cultural ties between the two jurisdictions.
“Building stronger economic and cultural ties with the State of Punjab will be hugely beneficial to both of our economies,” said Clark. “The State of Punjab is a key player in the fast-growing market of India, and a close friend of our province because so many British Columbians trace their roots to the Punjab.”
These initiatives came out of a meeting between Clark, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and Food Processing Minister Adesh Partap Singh Kairon.
In Chandigarh, Advanced Education Minister Amrik Virk raised awareness of the great potential for secondary and post-secondary education partnerships, joint research initiatives, and student and educator exchange between B.C. and India.
“Our meeting with Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal and his team of senior officials was extremely productive,” said Virk. “We discussed a variety of topics related to post-secondary education, including how we can continue to work to promote the two-way global flow of students, educators and knowledge between India and British Columbia. Back in British Columbia, we will look into how to put our exchange of ideas into action to benefit our students, our institutions and our two jurisdictions.”
B.C. and the Punjab will work on a teacher and student exchange program between UBC and Punjab universities, with a focus on pharmacology, generic medicines and bio-energy.
International missions such as the visit to India increase British Columbia’s profile as an attractive and high-quality study destination. The Province is committed to a 50% increase in the number of international students studying in B.C. by 2016.
Virk added, “Students from India can look forward to a warm welcome when they arrive in British Columbia because of our long-standing cultural, social and economic connections.”
There are more than 60 education partnerships between public post-secondary institutions in British Columbia and institutions and institutes in India. The mission will build on existing partnerships and, hopefully, result in additional partnerships.
Clark also said B.C.’s Punjab-based Trade and Representative Office and the Province would work on proposals put forth by Badal on a number of key areas for both jurisdictions, including: food technology and milk processing, mutual recognition of skills and training certificates, and an exchange of cultural troupes of eminent musicians and folk singers from Punjab to participate in the Vancouver Punjabi Mela held every year.