The minister speaking at a two-day international Webinar which concluded on Saturday on “India the Global Destination for Higher Education, post-NEP 2020” organised by IIT Kharagpur Alumni Foundation (India) and IIT Kharagpur, also said international students will not feel burdened with long-term commitment. Pokhriyal expressed concern over the outflow of billions of dollars every year for foreign education despite the strong higher education system and research facilities in the country.
V K Tewari, director, IIT Kharagpur said, “NEP 2020 has brought the opportunity to finally promote internationalization both inbound and outbound, through semester away and credit transfer programs.”
Commander V K Jaitly, the webinar chairperson, said if the quality of higher education in India is enhanced along with the packaging and branding of our educational programs to international students, our country can earn about $20 bn every year. He pointed out how Indian students are spending about $16 bn abroad every year and most of them land up in average universities.
Amit Khare, higher education secretary, weighed on leveraging the researchers’ network of GIAN and SPARC programs and creating short-term courses for one or two semesters under NEP 2020, in addition, to extensively covering social aspects of cyber-physical research.
R T Krishnan, director, IIM Bangalore observed that foreign students often opt for short-term courses instead of long commitments due to the uncertain factor of the cost of education.
Sandeep Sancheti, vice chancellor, SRM University, however, leaned towards a Masters program which he believes can bring international recognition.
M K Surappa, vice chancellor, Anna University talked about the contribution of engineering colleges other than IITs both private, central government and those with state universities.
AICTE chairperson Anil Sahasrabudhe talked about creating a silo of the Indian knowledge system, which has been emphasized under NEP2020, catering to the interests of foreign students.
Sudhir Jain, director, IIT Gandhinagar remarked on publicising funding schemes through webinars and promotional activities by Indian foreign offices.
Souvik Bhattacharyya, vice chancellor, BITS Pilani opined on the need for a contemporary and youthful approach in the funding and communication programs and improved the perception by engaging existing foreign students as brand ambassadors.
Geeta Mehta, Columbia University professor and president, Asia Initiatives pointed out the lack of brand awareness about IITs abroad among the general public despite the reputation in the corporate sector.
S Vaidhyasubramanium, vice chancellor, Sastra Deemed University talked about looking for opportunities in the neighbourhood of SAARC, while R Gopal, director, member, Board of Management, DY Patil School of Management (Deemed to be University) emphasised on the importance of the consortium approach for marketing the Indian universities abroad.
The issue of bottlenecks in the admission of foreign students was raised by Pramod K Jain, director, IIT (BHU) Varanasi who advocated the need for making the admission process and other regulations lucid for the foreign students. The possibility of globalizing NTA and other admission programs was also discussed.
US Consul General in Kolkata Patti Hoffman reflected on the role of international offices at individual institutions to provide the core support system along with exploring collaborative opportunities through designing customized joint programs under NEP 2020.
Another area that found repeated mention was the creating international presence of Indian higher educational institutions through setting up outreach centres working in close association with the foreign offices of the Indian government. Pradeep Khosla, chancellor at the University of California San Diego noted how US universities have addressed this in UAE. This idea found further support among academic experts from the USA with Prabhat Hajela, provost, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute extending the idea to conducting outreach initiatives addressing safety and infrastructural issues by means of induction programs to improve the perception of Indian institutions and foreign students enrollment.
The concern of return on investment was expressed by T G Sitharam, director, IIT Guwahati who mulled on making internships and employment opportunities available to foreign students.