The foreign exchange programmes not only help students learn international pedagogy, but also give them a chance to experience the best of both worlds in terms of academic and cultural diversity, says Dr Pratima Sheorey
Imparting right knowledge and skill to the youth, paves the way for a country’s progressive future. Providing a comprehensive learning experience is imperative to ensure they can choose a direction that helps them succeed. Not only within the country but also in the international arena. Education institutions and the Government have realised this vision over the years. Hence, they have been actively involved in promoting reforms through various policies and projects to create educational opportunities that prepare Indian students to match international standards, until the lockdown happened.
AICTE (All India Council for Technical Education) and UGC (University Grants Commission) issued guidelines in 2016 to increase synergies between Indian and Foreign Universities. Since then, the education sector has seen a substantial rise in collaborations with coveted foreign universities from countries such as Canada, England, Australia, Netherlands, USA, etc.
To further assess the phenomenal positive impact, let us look at how these foreign collaborations with Indian institutes are empowering the education sector:
Twinning programmes for an innovative curriculum: This takes place when an Indian student enrolls for a course at an Indian educational institute, and the study is divided between both the Indian institute and its foreign collaborator. However, to begin twinning programmes in India, both the Indian and international institutions are required to sign an MoU (Memorandum of Understanding). Which, many institutes in India have actively gotten into.
The collaboration enables students to learn from a curriculum aligned with international pedagogy, thereby students acquire skills that match with their global peers. They also get a chance to experience the best of both worlds in terms of academic and cultural diversity.
Affordable foreign education through distance programmes: Not all students can travel abroad to access foreign education. For those who have the talent and aspire for an overseas education but are held back due to various constraints, benefit immensely from such collaborations. Many foreign universities offer distance programmes to Indian students through e-learning teaching methodologies, MOOCs and webinars. They cost comparatively less as the students do not have to spend money on travelling and accommodation. Also, they have the option of pursuing their dream of completing their degree while managing other obligations.
Global exposure for both students and faculties: Numerous educational institutes offer student exchange programmes and faculty exchange programmes. They provide cross-cultural exposure to both the students and the faculty. The students gain a global perspective while the teaching faculty get an opportunity to exchange ideas in the entire process. Thereby, augmenting the overall learning experience.
Indian institutes collaborating with foreign universities, also paves the way for investment opportunities into the country. A rise in investment in the education sector means improved infrastructure, better amenities, higher salaries, greater scholarships and ultimately, an increase in the overall quality of education. Also, due to numerous reasons, students move abroad to pursue higher education which causes a brain drain in the country. However, giving them similar opportunities where they have access to the same quality of education with lucrative career prospects will provide them with an incentive to stay in India. Thus, their knowledge and skills will contribute to their own country’s growth and prosperity.
The writer is Director, Symbiosis Centre for Management and Human Resource Development, Pune