(L-R) Dr Rajiv Yeravdekar, Dean, Faculty of Health and Bio-medical Sciences; Prof Anita Patankar, Director, Symbiosis School of Liberal Arts; Dr Vidya Yeravdekar, Principal Director, Symbiosis Society; Dr Rajani Gupte,
Vice-Chancellor, Symbiosis International University; and Dr Aparna Hebbani, Dean of Media, Communication
and Design. Express (L-R) Dr Rajiv Yeravdekar, Dean, Faculty of Health and Bio-medical Sciences; Prof Anita Patankar, Director, Symbiosis School of Liberal Arts; Dr Vidya Yeravdekar, Principal Director, Symbiosis Society; Dr Rajani Gupte,Vice-Chancellor, Symbiosis International University; and Dr Aparna Hebbani, Dean of Media, Communicationand Design. Express
Are there no Indian universities with potential for competing with the best in the world? And if the answer is yes, then what’s holding them back from becoming truly world-class?” These and similar questions would be answered at the Association of Indian Universities (AIU) conference on Internationalisation of Higher Education 2017, being hosted at Symbiosis International University (SIU)’s Lavale Campus from April 8 to 10. The three-day conference would be inaugurated by Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar and attended by over 100 vice-chancellors from Indian universities, both public and private, besides senior academicians, policy advisors, educational agencies and university representatives from the US, Europe, Asian countries like Singapore, Malaysia, Japan.
The organisers said that through this conference they planned to present a policy paper to Javadekar on the roadmap to making Indian universities world-class. Amongst the prominent speakers at the conference include Prof Ellen Hazelkorn, policy advisor to Higher Education Authority (Ireland); Prof Philip Altbach, director, Center for International Higher Education (USA); Prof Bertil Andersson, president, Nanyang Technological University (Singapore); Prof Jamil Salmi, global tertiary education expert; besides UGC chairman Ved Prakash, D S Chauhan, president, AIU, D P Singh, director, NAAC.
“Recently, the Indian government had announced that they will be selecting 10 public and 10 private universities to develop them into world-class universities and it is a very good decision. But what are the parameters that make a university world-class? Is research the core parameter, or does developing infrastructure suffice to make it amongst the best in the world? While the Indian government will work towards making these 20 universities world-class but how do others work towards making their varsities also amongst the best in the world. For this, we need to have dialogue and collaborations with world-class universities abroad. Hence we have organised this conference which will be a meeting point for the best of minds in the field of higher education and will together create a roadmap for internationalisation of higher education in India. We hope to present a policy paper on this subject to the Indian government through the round table happening one day prior to the inauguration of the conference,” said Dr Vidya Yeravdekar, principal director, Symbiosis.
The conference is spread over four main ‘tracks’ — Creating an Ecosystem for Internationalisation, Cross-border Higher Education, Internationalisation at home and Building Successful Partnerships — that will discuss varied theoretical concepts in understanding of internationalisation of higher education, internationalisation in respect of regulatory framework and policies, best practices across institutions, limitations of cross-border mobility and intercultural integration.
“Isn’t it natural that when one speaks about internationalisation of education, given a choice, we would all aspire to be world-class. But as vice-chancellors, what is it that we are expected to do? We are so busy with daily academic affairs that we don’t really give a thought to it. Hence to create an eco-system for internationalisation of education, we need to learn what to do. For example, making foreign students comfortable. If in a city like Pune we see discrimination against foreign students, then in smaller cities it will be even more. So we need to conduct sensitisation if we want to create an ecosystem,” said Ranjani Gupte, vice-chancellor, SIU.
Issues like challenges in cross-border education regarding mobility of students and faculty will also be discussed. “Can all students go abroad? Is money the only factor or otherwise too? What about internationalisation at home by making changes in curriculum, foreign university collaborations and joint degrees, for those who cannot go abroad,” added Gupte.
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