To incorporate changes in the current education system, many policies are required. Every university has strengths and weaknesses and one size (policy) doesn’t fit all.
The internationalisation of higher education has grown over the past decade. The number of students, teaching staff, and researchers that cross borders is increasing and institutional activities and strategies for internationalisation have become more elaborate. Their aims and rationales include networking for mutual understanding and intercultural learning, for achieving academic excellence, and for providing assistance to build capacity in other countries. As the context is increasingly characterised by global competition in which knowledge is a prime factor for economic growth, internationalisation has also become more market oriented, aiming to attract talented students and highly skilled workers as key resources for the knowledge economy.
The elites of education industry like Martine Reicherts, Director General, EU, Education & Culture; Dr. Pankaj Mittal, Additional Secretary, UGC; Prof. Furqan Qamar, Secretary General, AIU; Prof. W N Gade, Vice Chancellor, Savitribai Phule Pune University; Prof. Martine Rahier, Vice President, European University Association; Cesare Onestini, Deputy Head, Delegation of the European Union to India and Pavan Sriram, Co-Chair, Erasmus Student and Alumni Association discussed on the policies, programs and work at the level of higher education institutions.
Martine Reicherts opened the discussion by saying, “To incorporate changes in the current education system, many policies are required. Every university has strengths and weaknesses and one size (policy) doesn’t fit all. Internationalisation is not about mobility of pupils but teachers and other staff also.” She further added, “Countries should believe in capacity building and learning from each other. Cooperation is required between India and the UK. We should work on giving joint degrees, integrate distance learning, joint research and train the teachers and upskill them to stay updated. Such efforts would boost the internationalisation process.”
As put by Mittal, “UGC is into many fellowship programs with a number of countries. We also have exchange of scientist program with Germany and other 6 joint-research programs. I personally believe that we should come out with short courses such as Whatsapp courses which would not require any recognition of UGC. 2 or 3 topics would be shared on a group on which discussions would be held all day.”
Internationalisation of higher education is a major challenge and also an opportunity for universities in India and abroad. Students demand skills for employment. The introduction of digital technologies and greater globalisation are pushing universities to find new strategies and develop new approaches and services while maintaining quality.
According to Gade, “Internationalisation should involve mobility of not only students, but others too. Teachers should be adequately trained to teach students from other nations and close connections should be fostered between teachers of both the nations. Joint research between India and other countries should also be encouraged.”
According to Rahier, “Research and innovation projects between India and EU should be encouraged. Innovation is the foundation of culture which requires cooperation. As competition persists, ranking of educational institutions would ensure right balance for competition and encourage internalisation.”
Thus, internationalisation of higher education is very required for sustained growth, quality teaching and exchange of cultures between different nations. This also improves the image of the nations involved and fosters healthy economic and social relations.