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Is Collaboration of Foreign and Indian University a Dawn of the New Beginning

Posted on Aug 16, 2017

Collaboration Indian and Abroad Universities

It takes two to tango. When the Ministry of HRD opened the floodgates to allow collaboration of Indian universities with foreign institutions, many universities took this opportunity to synergize their curriculum with leading institutions abroad. The carrot? Many Indian students who were looking for a global experience, but could not afford the expensive fees of study abroad programs could now get the best of both worlds. Stay in India, while develop a global perspective with foreign collaborations.

So what does this twinning program really entail? The UGC guidelines stipulate that only top level institutes will be granted permission to look for foreign collaborations. In doing so, the education ministry wants to ensure that top class institutes come together, and create a synergy of educational curriculum to benefit local students. The guidelines also state that students who sign up for this program should be provided the opportunity to study abroad for at least one semester for post-graduate degrees and two semesters for under-graduate degrees. This clause ensures that students benefit from global exposure. While students may not be able to take full advantage of living abroad for a long term course, the foreign collaboration offers them a window to the world, and an opportunity to experience the cultural and academic diversity that exist abroad. With a tight reign of control by the HRD ministry, there will be fewer cases of fraud and students will be assured of getting their money’s worth.

To understand what this means for the various stakeholders let us evaluate this policy from every point of view:

From the Student’s Perspective:

Till recently, foreign education was for the elite class. Most of middle class India would be left out because of high tuition and living costs. This class difference created a wide gap between different sections of society. In a bid to bridge economic difference, the government has opened Indian education to collaborate with foreign ones. Now, a gamut of opportunities awaits the new age student. Many colleges insist on standardized tests, such as the TOEFL and GRE which are in tune with the requirements of foreign programs abroad. With a twinning program, students get to develop a global personality. They get to participate in student exchange programs, learn about other cultures while still being home, and gain an enriching academic experience.

From the Local University’s Perspective:

A twinning program is the plume that makes the local universities look good. Local universities tie up with reputed foreign universities. The exchange of intellectual ideas, faculty interaction, and academic activities are a great boost to the local university profile. It raises the bar for their internal faculty, and provides them an opportunity to interact with the brightest minds of the world. Students look forward to enrolling into such programs. However, it is necessary for universities to find an equal collaborator, where the local universities can gain the exchange. Local universities also benefit by getting richer and diverse breed of campus recruitment opportunities. Companies looking for students with a global education profile are happy to visit colleges offering collaborative courses for foreign education.

From the Foreign University’s Perspective:

So what brings the world’s best universities to India? Why would they want to be a part of a collaboration? More and more universities have begun to recognize the benefits of a foreign collaboration. It is a form of cross-cultural exchange that enriches both universities. While the driving reason for the collaboration is opening up markets in other countries, foreign universities are also on the lookout for local talent. Some of the best minds don’t have the monetary support to explore study abroad options. They get left behind in an education system that is already skewed towards the richer class. Call it social responsibility or a commercial opportunity, foreign universities gain tremendously by partnering with Indian universities. Their students also get to experience life in a different cultural setting. The teachers have the opportunity to impart knowledge across their geographical boundaries. It is the mingling of minds and talent that enhances unique learning experiences.

From the Industry Perspective:

Of all the parties involved, the industry is really the litmus test of the foreign collaboration. We have seen that most companies are happy to recruit in campuses offering global tie-ups. Multinationals look for local talent with a global perspective. The enriching student exchange program also ensures that candidates have a real-life experience living abroad. At the same time, companies have to pay considerably less than their global counterparts, who recruit on foreign campuses. While paying in local currency, companies can hire global managers at half the cost.

In most cases, it is a win-win situation for all. The only downside could be for those universities who are wrongly left out of this gravy train. If universities don’t match up to the accreditation guidelines set up by the Ministry of HRD, they don’t get to enjoy the benefits of a foreign collaboration. As more universities improve their facilities and infrastructure to suitably impress the accreditation board, the education in India will see an uptick in its growth.

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This article was also published in Education Biz on 11/08/2017.

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