Borderless education

Going global with borderless education is fast becoming a trend as Indian universities look to expand their international presence with offshore branch campuses.


Muaz Shabandri

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Published: Tue 20 Sep 2011, 8:32 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 7:41 AM

Business schools lead the trend with inter-country education programmes as students travel to different countries as part of their course.

More universities than ever are willing to expand their international presence as students look for exposure to a multinational study experience. This trend was clearly evident when a group of 50 vice-chancellors from India’s leading universities visited Dubai as part of an international educational conference.

For Dr Arun Jamkar from the Maharashtra University of Health Sciences (MUHS), the expertise of Indian faculty and students is a value addition for any international university willing to collaborate.

“In India, there is a mass of students, professors and educators willing to make their contribution to education. What we want is collaboration with universities based outside India which, in turn, will provide opportunities to exchange knowledge at an international level,” says Dr Jamkar who is the vice-chancellor of the MUHS.

With over 100,000 students receiving medical education at the university, his vision of an international collaboration with universities is not far fetched. He calls for building a knowledge bridge to support student exchange where students from both private and public universities in the UAE can go to India and continue their education.

“There are more than 315 medical colleges affiliated to our university. The combined clinical material in these colleges can provide value to any international student who is willing to travel to India and continue studying there,” adds Dr Jamkar.

Similar views were echoed by other educators who were attending the conference. Prof Dr Uday Salunkhe, group director of Welingkar Education, which manages one of India’s top 10 business schools, says the nature of education has changed over the last decade.

“Today, we believe in a concept of borderless education where knowledge means knowing about a global culture. Education is no longer about producing graduates or managers. It’s about creating global leaders who can use their knowledge to innovate in a global market,” says Dr Salunkhe.

Describing Dubai as a regional hub for private education, he adds, “Dubai offers a lot of opportunities but the challenge for Indian universities is to come out of their comfort zone and look at these opportunities. Also, the number of students here are limited offering a limited scope for educators.”

For Dr Ayoub Kazim, managing director of TECOM Investments’ Education Cluster, the education conference was an opportunity to interact with the vice-chancellors.

“There is immense potential for sharing best practices between India and the UAE that can be leveraged through initiatives such as the EDUCON conference. At Dubai Knowledge Village and Dubai International Academic City, we aim to provide education with the perspective of enhancing the employability of students within the UAE as well as the global corporate landscape,” he says.

Success stories from Indian universities, including Manipal University, BITS Pilani and S.P. Jain Centre of Management, have proven the worth of Indian education. While the growth of these universities is set to pick up with the new academic year, their humble beginnings are a reminder of the opportunities waiting for educators.

Dr B. Ramjee, director of Manipal University Dubai Campus, says, “We started with 95 students in Dubai and since then, the number of students have increased exponentially. Education providers need to consolidate their position in the first three years of operation. Students today can make well-informed decisions as they compare courses and universities.”

With the current trend expected to continue, more reputed names from across the globe can be expected to open their international centres in Dubai. The real test remains in sustaining the student numbers over a period of time. —

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