Trends, insights and research to inform growth and innovation strategies in international higher education.

September 25, 2009

Guru Mantra: Prof. Jane Schukoske, University of Baltimore


Prof. Jane E. Schukoske
University of Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Former Executive Director, USIEF

After nine years in New Delhi, India, Jane E. Schukoske returned in summer 2009 to the University of Baltimore, Maryland, USA, to direct and teach in a Masters degree program in the Law of the United States for lawyers who received their first degree in law outside the United States. From 2000-08, she directed USEFI, now named the U.S.-India Educational Foundation, the binational Fulbright Commission with offices in Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata and Mumbai.  In 2008-09, she advised the sponsoring body of the private, non-profit O.P. Jindal Global University and Jindal Global Law School established in 2009 in Sonipat, Haryana, in the National Capitol Region of Delhi.  At University of Baltimore School of Law from 1988-2000, Prof. Schukoske taught Contracts and a seminar in Law and Social Reform, among other courses, and established and directed the Community Development Clinic.  Previously, she practiced law in legal services offices in Virginia and directed the Virginia Poverty Law Center.  Her education includes a Bachelor of Arts in French from Boston University, a Juris Doctorate from Vanderbilt University, and a Master of Laws from Georgetown University.
Prof. Schukoske’s experience in legal education in South Asia dates to 1995, when she taught in a month-long Refresher Course at National Law School of India University prior to her work as a Senior Fulbright Scholar at University of Colombo Faculty of Law, Sri Lanka, in 1995-96.  She has taught legal education training sessions in Bangladesh, India and Nepal, and has visited law colleagues in Pakistan.
Her scholarship is in the areas of international education, community development law and housing law.  Her article, “Legal Education Reform in India: Dialogue among Indian Law Teachers,” was published in Jindal Global Law Review in 2009. Her articles have been published in Iowa Law Review, South Carolina Law Review, New York University Journal of Legislation and Public Policy, Hastings Women’s Law Journal, and International Legal Perspectives, among others. She wrote several books chapters and articles while in India.

RC: What excites you most about your transition back to the University of Baltimore School of Law as the director of the LL.M. Program on Law of the United States (LL.M. LOTUS) for foreign lawyers?
JS: The challenge of applying my perspectives from international education to enhance the design and delivery of this graduate program for lawyers educated abroad is exciting.  I enjoy teaching Introduction to the Law of the United States to my LL.M. students who have earned law degrees in Cameroon, China, Dominican Republic, Germany, Nepal, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russia, Turkey and U.K., as well as our exchange students from Brazil and Netherlands.  The course demands that I research the legal developments that occurred during my time in India.  I have learned new classroom technologies and ways to engage students outside of class on our course website.  The website for my course offers discussion forums and ways to provide students practice exercises through Computer Assisted Legal Instruction and other internet resources.

As an administrator, I find the university's Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), implemented since I left, a valuable tool for program monitoring and development.  In my work last year as advisor for the O.P. Jindal Global University and Jindal Global Law School, I was part of a team designing the broad contours of a new institution.  Movement between these two universities at different stages of development and with a variety of international education activities is giving me a robust understanding of how higher education, particularly legal education, is rapidly adapting to globalization.

RC: Given that you have deep professional experiences both in the US and Indian education systems, what advice do you have for Indian educational institutions who are aspiring to achieve global excellence?

JS: Begin with Mission:  An institution must be clear about its mission in order to identify relevant standards of “global excellence” and to pick “aspirational peer” institutions.

Teaching, research and scholarship, and the institution’s community service are three key aspects of an institution’s mission. For many institutions, the primary mission of the institution may be to educate the youth of the region to be responsible citizens and enjoy career opportunities. The academic community must ask itself, what is the setting in which the institution is operating and what are the societal needs in that region?  How do similarly situated aspirational peer institutions in India and abroad connect university education with regional development and understanding?  Striving for “global excellence” requires a shared, realistic vision and the capacity to bring about ongoing, measurable institutional improvement that benefits student learning.  “Global excellence” in India, as anywhere, must certainly be defined considering the needs of the students and society.

Teach writing: All educational institutions would state excellence in teaching as part of their mission.  In that regard, curriculum development, criteria for selection and professional development of teachers, teaching material development, revamping of assessment methods, and review of the learning outcomes of students are key.  Many education and industry leaders in India have called for graduates with better communication and analytical skills.  That suggests that specific focus on the research and writing curriculum is important.  Indian professors educated abroad often see the benefit of a strong writing program and can contribute significantly to curricular innovation in this area.

Engage the institution in “self study” using benchmarks:  Higher education leaders in India have identified crucial systemic and institutional issues — equity and access; relevance; quality and excellence; governance and management; and funding.  For U.S. institutions, quality control, governance and management are maintained through accreditation processes for both institutions and professional programs.  A key benefit of the process is the “self study” by the faculty and administration of the institution using accreditation benchmarks.  The institution conducts this study prior to the visit by an accreditation team from other institutions. The self study provides a framework for internal assessment and goal-setting, and the collaborative process can have a beneficial effect on institutional focus and growth.


RC: In your experience, what do you believe are the top competencies required to be a successful education administrator?
JS: A successful education administrator needs vision and the ability to motivate a team to strive for excellence in student learning.  To create a positive educational climate, he or she needs excellent communication skills, the abilities to make decisions, encourage team action, and manage conflict. An education administrator should be curious about best practices and new initiatives, and should know the institution and system in which the institution operates.  He or she needs to mobilize necessary resources, set measurable goals and periodically assess progress.  He or she needs to be alert to the changes in the educational environment and to help colleagues to change with the times.

Two articles readily available on the internet that discuss these and other aspects in the context of higher education are Mary Ann Wisniewski, Leadership in Higher Education: Implications for Leadership Development Programs (1999) and David H. Smith, Higher Education Leadership Competency Model: Serving Colleges and Universities During an Era of Change (2003).


My vision for educational administration in India is to equip Indian youth to meet the challenges India faces - including equitable access to education, employment opportunity and community development - and to contribute to addressing the issues of the region and the world.  India's rich cultural heritage and diversity, strategic location, thriving economy and huge pool of talent are tremendous assets.  Education administrators have great responsibility and opportunity to positively influence the growth of the nation. 
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September 14, 2009

Enabling Education Entrepreneurship in India

Education is central to the human capital development and economic development of any country. Even for India, where only 12% of the addressable population goes to college and nearly 70% of the population is in rural areas, education is considered a very important channel for socioeconomic mobility. Unfortunately, despite huge demand and need of education, policy framework in India has stifled access, quality and innovation in education.

I recently conducted a Linkedin poll and asked "What is the biggest constraint in setting up a 'high quality' academic institution in India?" The response was loud and clear--regulatory mechanism is the biggest constraint, followed by investments/funding.


In this scenario, education entrepreneurs serve as "...as visionary thinkers who create brand new for-profit or nonprofit organizations that seek to have a large-scale impact on the entire public school [education] system-and in so doing, redefine our sense of what is possible in public education." India is in dire need of such education entrepreneurs and supporting private capital to energize and innovate its education system.

Following framework from New Schools Venture Fund conceptualizes the process of change and innovation resulting from educational entrepreneurship:

Some Indian education entrepreneurs are sensing the opportunity and are aggressively finding niches, models and structures that fall outside the regulatory mechanism.

First, there are long existing model of IT training (NIIT and APTECH) and test prep companies (IMS and Careerlauncher) which work in the typical classroom structures to support academic or test preparation. Even the traditional education companies are gaining a an entrepreneurial mindset and are seeking a share of the growing and evolving education market. For example, NIIT launched Imperia for executive education, IMS started Proshool for professional training, and Careerlauncher started a B-school and K-12 school.

Second, there is are business models that leverage technology and provide informal education, training and support services. Thus, most of them are outside the "brick and mortar" model with significant scalability and penetration opportunities. These models can be classified as:

E-learning: B2C www.globalscholar.com/ ; http://www.wiziq.com/ ; www.tutorvista.com/ and B2B http://www.24x7learning.com/

Curriculum and Assessment: http://www.idiscoveri.com/ ; http://www.ei-india.com/ and http://www.merittrac.com/

Skill development: http://www.gttconnect.com/ and http://www.elementsakademia.com/

International admissions: http://www.studyplaces.com/ ; http://www.uniguru.com/ ; http://www.shiksha.com/ and http://www.learnhub.com/

Finally, there are models of professional education that leverage collaboration and innovation and have successfully build their institutions despite regulatory hurdles. For example, ISB, Hyderabad  managed to attain global reputation (ranked #15, Financial Times) and have not sought approvals from local regulator-AICTE. Likewise, National Management School started a for-profit model of business education in collaboration with Georgia State University. in terms of scalability, Lovely Professional University claims to be India's largest single campus university and has achieved this scale in nearly one decade.

Thus, education entrepreneurship in India is emerging and is also providing significant opportunities for private investors. Private capital infusion in these times are expected to provide very healthy returns in the long term. Further, the diversity of education models available and incessant demand for quality education, private investors can gain immensely from early mover advantage. This positive interaction between private capital and entrepreneurship may solve some of the  most pressing challenges which policy framework is unable to solve.

In the US, Education Industry Investment Forum is organizing its annual conference in March 2010 and provides an excellent opportunity for entrepreneurs seeking funding opportunities. Likewise, international investors exploring to enter Indian market should actively consider the opportunities presented by these innovative models of education and related services.
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September 08, 2009

Engineering oversupply: More students headed for graduate education

I discussed in my earlier posting that India is facing a situation of oversupply of engineering graduates not only due to recession which has slowed campus recruitment but also because of the skills gap. Thus, while the demand side equation has slowed, the supply of engineering graduates has increased at a faster pace resulting in a bigger gap and unemployment among engineering graduates. I argue that this oversupply of unemployed and largely dissatisfied engineers will continue to boost the demand for master's level education in India and abroad.

Fresh graduates from engineering programs have three primary career options:
1) Employment
2) Higher Education - India - M.E./M.Tech. or MBA
3) Higher Education - Abroad - MS or MBA

Premier Indian institutions like the IITs are also facing the brunt of the recession and their placement numbers have taken a dip. For example, according to HRD Minister Kapil Sibal, number of students recruited by MNCs from seven IITs reduced from 3,031 students in 2008 to 1,606 this year. Graduates may be compromising and taking jobs of lesser preference resulting in dissatisfaction in terms of their career goals. This means that they would look for an change in employer or more likely pursue higher education in short to medium term to fast track their careers.

In India, engineering graduates may pursue M.E./M.Tech. or MBA. Number of test takers for graduate level entrance exams like Common Admission Test-CAT for admissions to MBA institutes and Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering-GATE for admissions to gain admission to graduate engineering programs in India have increased consistently over the years. In 2009, nearly 230,000 students took GATE as compared to 170,000 in 2008 indicating an increase of 27 per cent in one year. Likewise, number of CAT test takers have doubled in six years from a total of 130,000 in 2003 to 250,000 in 2008. It is estimated that nearly 50% of total CAT test takers are engineers and 80% of admits in IIMs are engineers.

Graduate engineering programs (MS) are quite popular among Indian students going to the US. For example, according to NSF Science and Engineering Indicators, nearly 38,000 students from India were enrolled in graduate programs in Computer Science/Engineering, representing nearly 57% of total enrollment of Indian students in US universities in 2005.The popularity of MS programs among Indians is driven by the availability of assistantships and relatively higher availability of technology jobs post-graduation. MBA programs, although highly aspirational are limited by requirement of work-experience and lesser availability of financial aid and jobs post-graduation.

Enrollment pattern of Indian students in US universities clearly indicate that it is the preferred destination for higher education among Indian students. According to IIE OpenDoors, most of the Indian students enroll at the graduate level (72.0% at graduate level as compared to14.4% at undergraduate level). Number of Indian students enrolled in US universities have grown by 180% in ten years and more than doubled its proportion to total foreign student in US from 7% to 15% (IIE OpenDoors).

Year     # of Students from India    % of Total Foreign Students in US

2007/08     94,563     15.2%
1997/98     33,818       7.0%

To sum up, the confluence of oversupply of engineers, lesser availability of satisfying jobs and natural aspiration of Indians for US would continue to create high demand for graduate level programs in India and the US. Although, CGS numbers report that number of Indian applications are down by 12% from last year, Indian prospective student still aspire to study in the US.
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