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scientific edition of Bauman MSTU


Bauman Moscow State Technical University.   El № FS 77 - 48211.   ISSN 1994-0408

UK Universities – It's Time to Go to India


UK universities must go to India if they are to benefit from a shake up to international higher education which will see India enrolling the largest number of students into tertiary education in the world by 2020, warns a British Council report.

Universities are being urged to move away from focusing on recruiting Indian students to forming partnerships in India, creating new opportunities for UK students and academics to study and teach there, as well as encouraging collaboration through research.

"By 2020, India and China will produce 40% of the world's graduate talent pipeline," says Lynne Heslop, British Council's senior education advisor in India and author of the report. "We can't sit back and rely on this talent to continue coming to the UK.

"Other countries are also looking to capitalise on these new opportunities, and the UK will miss out unless our sector can increasingly engage with India, in India."

The Indian government's five-year plan to reform higher education aims to create 40m new university places and train 500 million people by 2020. Heslop says it is the largest transformation in higher education that any country has attempted.

But universities need to see this collaboration as mutually beneficial, says Sir Steve Smith, vice-chancellor of the University of Exeter, speaking about the report at a British Council event.

He says there is a historic relationship with India, and unintentionally, we echo that imperial relationship by using language like "send us your best and brightest students", suggesting that India can't educate them.

Frankly, he says, "it cannot work unless it's a win-win situation that is based on respect".

Yet collaboration in India won't come without its challenges. Currently the UK collaborates with just 2.5% of the Indian higher education sector. Although India is a fast growing economy, it has few universities in the top 200 world university rankings and there is little data available about Indian institutions.

"The real issue is quality," says Pramath Raj Sinha, founder and managing director of 9.9 Media, and "that's where the UK comes in. There's also a central problem with academic staff, in terms of both quality and quantity". Between 30% and 40% of departmental positions in Indian universities are vacant.

Although two thirds of Indian students go to private rather than government-run universities, the government's lack of trust in private providers also makes it a tough place to operate in, says Sinha – "you get treated like a crook".

He says the real opportunity for the UK is not building new universities in India, but helping Indian institutions with quality and access.

Rod Coombs, professor and deputy vice-chancellor of the University of Manchester, says the education opportunities in India should be taken "very seriously" by the UK.

"In five year's time, 40% of all university students in the world will either be in China or India. So if you are running a global university you absolutely have to take that very seriously and work out how to expand your connections with the country."

Source: The Guardian

Photo: from The Guardian site

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