Priyanka Srivastava | Posted February 10, 2024 06:16 PM
The recently concluded QS India Summit 2024 in Chennai unleashed a plethora of issues related to internationalisation of higher education in India. The growing interest among foreign universities to enrol Indian students, accelerate research and academic partnerships and growth of exchange programmes has increased the responsibilities of Indian Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). The enthusiasm of the participants at the Summit confirmed the increasing need for collaboration on several academic fronts besides student mobility.
With the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 taking centre stage, the attraction for academic partnership has emerged as a strong point for the international universities.
Lord Kamlesh K Patel, OBE, House of Lords and chairman, India Business Group, UK, who has been an advisor to several universities in the UK, called upon enhancing mutually beneficial partnerships. "Internationalisation, sustainable growth and socio-economic development is a meaningful process which is not possible by working in isolation. It is possible only by partnership which needs to be explored in every possible opportunity," he said in the keynote address.
Young demography"India has been inviting attention for multiple reasons, which includes enhanced capabilities, acquiring the position of strong democracy, being a populous nation consisting of a young demography. It is time for India to capitalise on its asset comprising 2/3rd of population below 35 years of age," said Lord Patel underlining the need for drawing upon the benefits of demographic dividend.
“HEIs in India is thriving and NEP 2020 is a gamechanger to liberalise the education sector. Collaboration is the only way to emerge as the knowledge superpower. India aspires to lead in research in renewable energy, engineering, defence research and more. The UK on the other hand, is working on being the innovation superpower. For this, bright young minds from across the globe will be required to work on the innovation plan,” said Lord Patel.
Dr. Nigel Healey, vice-president (Global and Community Engagement) at the University of Limerick, Ireland, highlighted the growing demand for online learning which will be beneficial for students from below poverty line. “Unleashing the power of partnership, dual degrees, and learning more about relevant courses will help in collaborative growth,” said Healey.
The QS India Summit themed ‘Empowering Excellence: Unleashing the Potential of Partnerships and Collaboration in Indian Higher Education’, brought several senior academics, vice-chancellors, and researchers under one roof to brainstorm on the challenges related to internationalisation and introducing SDGs in campus.
Saurabh Sinha, professor, and executive dean at University of Canterbury (UC) explained UC’s holistic approach to embed SDGs affordable and clean energy. AI deployed in sustainable smart grids can produce gains in efficiency, for instance, by managing timing for hot water heating. Prof Sinha called for expressions of interest from Indian researchers for a future special issue of a journal to focus on the ending energy poverty agenda, from policy, innovation, industry, and other perspectives, in the session moderated by Brett Berquist, assistant vice-chancellor Engagement, University of Canterbury. Prof Ian White, vice-chancellor, and president at University of Bath highlighted the need for innovative strategies to wisely tackle environmental challenges.
Ankit Singhal, assistant professor at IIT Delhi reflected on energy equity and observed higher blackout rates in minority and vulnerable communities. “Community engagement is key to achieving energy equity,” he said.Sanjay Mitra, Professor of Practice, IIT Delhi, highlighted India’s increasing access to electricity and clean cooking. “Over the past decade, the growth across South Asia has been substantial, through government capex subsidies and other programmes. Renewables may be one way of closing the gap in energy equity but also bring other challenges,” he said.
(from L to R: Ashwin Fernandes, Jessica Turner, RN Ravi, Governor of Tamil Nadu, C Raj Kumar, VC OP Jindal University and P Sathyanarayanan, Pro Chancellor, SRM Institute of Science and Technology)
India is at the forefront of education transformation, moving from a student outflow market into an equitable partner; the country is playing a key role in facilitating collaborations between the Global North & South.
The transformational NEP2020 will help break the shackles of the rigid and complex system of education from the past. We are on the right path to fast-track our economy towards growth by propelling social empowerment, economic reforms and cultural enrichment under the all-embracing vision document Viksit Bharat 2047, said Ashwin Fernandes, Executive Director (AMESA), QS Quacquarelli Symonds.
Union Minister of State for Education Subhas Sarkar in his closing remarks highlighted the time for India to collaborate globally and support in building a strong nation. Governor of Tamil Nadu, R N Ravi, who was chief guest at the opening of the summit, said "NEP2020 is best suited for India to meet the challenges of today, and overcome the problems of tomorrow."