The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown up many challenges in the country. At the same time it has also presented many opportunities for educational institutes, says DR JITIN CHADHA
Do you see the overseas flight of students to regular attractive destinations picking up once again?
In the Indian higher education space, migration is mostly outbound. With international travel being restricted from India, the situation is not so conducive for an overseas flight of students. The psychological impact of the second wave has made parents reluctant to send their children far away. This applies to domestic relocation as well. As a result of these factors, we don’t expect any extraordinary flight of students even to destinations like the US, the UK, Australia and Canada.
How has the pandemic impacted institutions like yours, providing collaborative Foreign Higher Education degrees?
The current pandemic, while posing many challenges, has certainly also presented many opportunities for our institution. With restricted foreign travel, many students are looking for ways to pursue a world-class education within India. Our collaborations with giants like the London School of Economics (LSE), University of London and Kingston University provide that. Our faculty pursue the world’s top teaching qualifications. This enables us to adapt quickly in such times, through initiatives like flipped classrooms, peer tutoring and diversified assessments.
A part of business school education is exposure to corporations, markets and geographies. Has this changed?
At ISBF, a dedicated careers team works to expose students to a variety of markets, upskill them and facilitate internships and placements across sectors. During term-time, student gain industry exposure through live projects, industry visits, boot camps with Bombay Stock Exchange, upskilling sessions by industry experts and, very importantly, guest lectures.
What changes do you see in delivery of quality higher education today?
The present pandemic will separate the wheat from the chaff in Indian higher education. The future of higher education is hybrid learning — synchronous, classroom teaching at the heart of the learning process, with technology playing an indispensable role.
How do you see the college admission seasons playing out with all the delays and postponements?
We welcome the Government's decision to cancel the Class XII Board exams. Given the mental, emotional and physical turmoil the whole country is experiencing due to the pandemic, the wisest choice has been made has been made. This was vital to achieve, because we are already seeing in our admission process that learning outcomes of Class XII graduates this year are generally poorer than previous years, due to the postponements and a curtailed session last year.
Do you see more foreign universities coming to India?
Absolutely. Foreign institutions have long been looking for greener pastures, and India is the perfect market for them, given its diversity. Besides, the New Education Policy has finally paved the way for their gradual entry. We have been the beneficiaries of one of the deepest international collaborations out there for over 15 years, with the curriculum and the assessment coming in from the foreign university partner and the teaching done by us, the local college, to international standards.