Ranbir Singh, president, Association of Indian Universities (AIU), on Friday said that the universities should first develop expertise and then think of going global.
Speaking at the National Consultation Meet on ‘Internationalisation of Higher Education’ — jointly organised by AIU and Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) at the behest of Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) in the city – Singh said, “I am against the universal model for all universities. I believe that each university should take its time, think about strengths and weaknesses and then take a call on going global,” said Singh.
The two-day meet has been organised to discuss the themes and strategies for the New Education Policy by the MHRD.
“There is a need of a coherent framework and evidence-based evaluation in higher education. We must welcome the best of the universities, who are ahead in innovation and technology, preferably from countries that are of strategic importance to us,” said Alok Mishra, director, International Cooperation, MHRD.
Highlighting that as many as 633 international institutes operating in the country are illegal, Furqan Qamar, secretary general, AIU, who is known for his distinguished career at Jamia Millia Islamia, said, “We hear about many MoU’s being signed. But in most of the cases, the initiative is taken by foreign universities. We are glad that Pune university has joined hands with Penn State University and led by example.”
Qamar said Pune was AIU’s natural choice for the meet as it boasts of many foreign students. Addressing some of the concerns in internationalisation of higher education, he said under the AICTE regulations, 15 percent of seats in all institutes and university departments are reserved for foreign nationals and persons of Indian origin. However, most of these seats are left vacant as there are no applicants, he added.
“There is a huge gap between the number of foreign students coming to India and our students going abroad. We need to find out the reasons behind this imbalance,” he said.
UGC vice-chairman H Devaraj emphasised on the implementation of the available ideas rather than inventing new. “We believe that vice-chancellors should be given autonomy to select teaching staff. UGC looks after 711 universities and over 40,000 colleges. If a vice-chancellor appoints good professors, the university can flourish and attract talent from across the world. On the other hand, if the teaching staff is not good, it will repel good students,” said Devaraj.
On the occasion, Professor KB Powar, former vice-chancellor of Shivaji University in Kolhapur and former Secretary General of AIU, was also felicitated. The meet was also attended SPPU vice-chancellor Professor WN Gade, Professor Michael Adewumi, vice provost, Penn State University, delegates from British Council and Australia and vice-chancellors from varsities of AIU. The two-day meet will create a framework on which AIU will make first draft by the year-end.