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

December 22, 2010

Indian Engineering & MBA Institutions: Growth Trends and Data

Number of engineering and management institutions in India have grown at an clipping rate of 19% and 16.5% CAGR in the period from 2005-06 to 2009-10 (AICTE). Likewise, the annual intake of students for engineering and management programs increased by 21% and 22% CAGR respectively in the same period.

However, Indian economy grew at a slower pace in this period. Indian GDP grew at a CAGR of 12% from 837 billion in 2005 to 1.31 trillion in 2009. This indicates that supply of students has outstripped the demand of the economy and hence there will be many more unemployed engineering and MBA graduates in the Indian labor market.

Further, given the lack of an effective policy framework and supporting professional standards, many institutions which started in last few years are of poor quality. Thus, the number of students in professional programs like engineering and management have not only been increasing at an unmanageable rate but also graduating with lack of skills. This is evident from many vacant seats remaining for engineering and management programs. In addition, there is a situation of credential inflation where people keep chasing degrees in the hope of finding better career prospects.


I believe that in next five years, a wave of consolidation is expected where some institutions will start closing down or merging due to their inability to adapt to the demand for quality and raising resources. Many others, which start gearing up for quality will survive and in fact, create a strong competitive advantage.

More engineering graduates, driven by underemployment or unemployment, will seek graduate programs abroad and hence education pipeline for students going abroad will continue to be healthy.

Feel free to share your thoughts/comments/experiences.
Dr. Rahul Choudaha
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December 13, 2010

2015: Arrival of the Gen-Q and Quality in Indian Higher Education

Published article on the arrival of Gen-Q in EDU magazine. To read the full article click here. Given below is my definition of Gen-Q:
Gen-Q are children born in late 90’s to the parents working in new-age industries like IT and telecommunications. Gen-Q will start going to college from 2015 onwards and will expect quality education.

According to NASSCOM, number of knowledge workers in Indian IT industry has grown eight-fold in ten years from less than 200,000 in 1998 to 1.6 million in 2007. Gen-Q are children of these new-age professionals and will start going to college from 2015 onwards and will expect high standards of quality. This demand for quality is already evident from the growth of international schools in India. For example, number of students in IB programs has grown at a CAGR of 25% in the five-year period from 2005-09.

Apart from expectations for quality, Gen-Q will influence Indian higher education in several other ways including demand for international experiences, autonomous decision making, acceptance of diverse fields and higher pricing of programs.

Arrival of Gen-Q in 2015 will trigger a major change in Indian higher education. This fast and sudden change, primarily driven by the demand side factors, will present opportunities and challenges for institutions. Survival and growth of many institutions would depend on preparing for this change and focusing on quality for long term competitiveness.

You are welcome to share your thoughts/comments/experiences.

Dr. Rahul Choudaha
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December 05, 2010

3 international partnership trends with Indian higher education institutions

Foreign collaborations with Indian higher education institutions gained a new wave of enthusiasm and excitement with the recent visit of President Obama. This included some major announcements including India-US education summit for next year. It was further propelled by high power delegations of foreign university leaders including the one led by Institute of International Education (IIE) and U.S.-India Business Council (USIBC) and an international conference on higher education organized by FICCI.

Recently some major announcements related to academic collaborations also contributed to positive sentiments:
  • Carnegie Mellon with Shiv Nadar Foundation to offer undergraduate programs in mechanical engineering and electrical and computer engineering. Degree will be awarded by CMU.  
  • Indiana University with O.P. Jindal Global University collaborated on several fronts including research, exchanges, executive education, recruitment and conferences for business, law, and public and environmental affairs. However, all of these are non-degree awarding relationships.  
  • Strathclyde University with SKIL to start with a Master in Management program to be awarded by Strathclyde. Later they plan to offer 3-year BBA and 1-year MBA programs.  
There are three key trends shaping up in international collaborations with India:

  • # 1. Business management programs remain hot favorite:
Business management had been favorite for several interrelated reasons. Business management departments are more entrepreneurial in general and with the increasing importance of India in global economy, foreign B-schools are very much interested engaging with India. Some of the early models of success models namely, ISB and GLIM, have also created a wave of "me-too" kind of aspiration among new programs. Also, business programs command a higher pricing power and prestige and hence Indian partners are also investing more in this segment. However, business management segment is becoming commoditized and there are more opportunities of success and long-term differentiation in other segments including education and liberal arts.  

  • # 2. non-US will become more attractive:
Indians perceive US higher education to be of very high standards in terms of quality. Most Indians would prefer to go to a second-tier US institution as compared to a first-tier European institution. However, with the more aggressive outreach by some non-US institutions, perceptions are expected to shift. Recently, a delegation of Canadian universities led by Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) visited India and also Spanish universities consortia announced partnerships. UK universities had been early movers in terms of starting off-shore campuses in India. They were bold enough to not pursue the AICTE approval route or wait for passage of foreign universities bill. Leeds MET, Lancaster University and De Montfort University are already offering British degrees in India. Apart from competitive pressures, the budget cuts and immigration reforms, will push other UK universities to become more open to establish partnerships and off-shore campuses.

  • # 3. non-degree collaborations will emerge stronger:
The recent announcement by Indiana University received good media attention, however, it is a non-degree collaboration involving exchanges. This trend is expected to pick up where institutions will attempt to forge partnerships as a signal of quality and campus internationalization. This also presents a good learning opportunity involved on both sides with limited risks and investments. This trend will be more dominant with among leading US universities who want to engage with India but want to be cautious about their reputational and financial risks involved. Yale's India initiative is also along these non-degree level partnerships and offshore campus is not an option.

The Economist cited a study by the British Council and the Economist Intelligence Unit and noted that "the biggest new market for western universities is likely to be India." Undoubtedly, India offers immense opportunities, however, the last mile problem remains in terms of execution challenges and sustainability.

Any thoughts/comments/experiences to share?
Here are some related postings:
Failure of foreign campuses: Recognize the importance of student-decision making
Approaches for identifying international partners

Dr Rahul Choudaha
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December 01, 2010

Guru Mantra: Angel Cabrera, President, Thunderbird

Dr. Angel Cabrera
Thunderbird School of Global Management

Thunderbird President Dr. Angel Cabrera is a world-renowned global leader and management educator whose work and expertise has been recognized and tapped by top international organizations, including the World Economic Forum, the United Nations, and the Clinton Global Initiative.  Dr. Cabrera has been an outspoken advocate of corporate social responsibility and managerial professionalism, and in 2005 he inspired a student-led initiative that resulted in Thunderbird becoming the first business school in the world to formally adopt a Professional Oath of Honor, a commitment to social responsibility and professional ethics taken by graduating students. Also in 2005, the school established Thunderbird for Good, a philanthropic effort to provide business education to entrepreneurs in developing countries. Since then, hundreds of women entrepreneurs have been trained in Afghanistan, Jordan and Peru.

Rahul- Thunderbird had been offering Global MBA on Demand since 2006 and the School plans to seek private capital to more aggressively focus on online programs for reaching to a global audience. What challenges do you foresee with the model and what are your priorities in next couple of years?
Dr. Cabrera- Our experience with the Global MBA On Demand and the Global MBA for Latin American managers demonstrates that we can deliver world-class education by using technology within a collaborative, hand-on learning philosophy.  Under the new Vision 2020, we are committed to expand the learning opportunities we offer around the world via new technologies and business models, including raising private capital as needed if it helps us scale up more effectively.

In our current plans we foresee a for-profit model in the non-degree programs, as they do not entail some of the accreditation challenges that limit what can be done in the degree-granting space. By using private capital we expect to more aggressively extend our presence in key markets around the world, as well as to scale our current portfolio of on-line certificate programs.  Meanwhile we will continue with our efforts to grow our blended degree program options within the traditional non-profit academic structure.  Pursuing both approaches at the same time is consistent with our mission and the key priorities driving the development of our strategic plan for 2010-2014: strengthening our differentiation, innovating for scale and impact, engaging emerging markets and building a community of learning and practice.

Rahul- You have extensive leadership experiences in institution building earlier as dean of IE Business School and now as president of Thunderbird. In your experience, what are the top two critical success factors for building an educational institution of high repute and impact?
Dr. Cabrera- Number one: to be crystal clear about the institution’s educational mission and values.  Thunderbird’s mission “to educate global leaders who create sustainable prosperity worldwide,” and its view of global leadership as a multifaceted combination of a global mindset, an enterprising spirit and global citizenship values set it apart from any other business school in the world.  Understanding who you are and how you provide value to the world is the single most important step any leader must take.
Second, to create a culture that fosters innovation by continually asking how to better deliver on one’s mission.

Rahul- Thunderbird has dominantly positioned itself as a leader in international business education. How important are international partnerships in the School's mission and strategy? What are the opportunities and challenges in building sustainable international partnerships?
Dr. Cabrera- We view Thunderbird not just as a place, but rather as a global community of shared mission and values.  We have consistently pursued an educational agenda based on the idea that international business can and must contribute to creating a more peaceful and prosperous world.  Our consistency around our mission and values is probably the reason why Thunderbird is considered leader in the international management education space.

In our model, multi-cultural partnerships – with private companies, government entities, and other institutions of higher learning – are an integral part of our identity.  In building sustainable partnerships, whether in business, government, or academia, the key is an alignment of interests.  Thinking carefully upfront about how to create benefit for all parties is very important to long-term success.  Equally important is a global mindset which allows one to understand different conceptions of trust, value, etc.  By better understanding your partner’s perspective you can better position your relationship to drive benefit to both sides.
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November 15, 2010

Indian students enrollments in the US decrease by 3,000, while Chinese increase by 22,000

After eight consecutive years, India loses its spot as the leading country of origin for international students in the US to China, and that too by a big margin of 22,731 students.

Growth directions of Chinese and Indian students enrollment in the US are showing a sharp contrast. There were 3,137 less Indian students enrolled in graduate and undergraduate programs in contrast to 22,511 more Chinese students in 2009/10 as compared to 2008/09 (IIE Open Doors 2010). These numbers about contrasting growth directions exclude students on OPT (Optional Practical Training) and "Other" non-degree categories and hence indicate real change in student enrollment in the degree-programs at undergraduate and graduate programs for 2009/10 academic year. (Note: CGS reports fall'2010 admissions trends for graduate programs only, while IIE Open Doors reports previous year's enrollment at all levels).

Over the last five years from 2004/05 to 2009/10, the pace of growth of Chinese students enrollment was nearly three times (CAGR of 15.3%) as compared to Indian students (CAGR of 5.5%). Total number of Chinese students doubled from 62,523 in 2004/05 to 127,628 in 2009/10, resulting in an increase of 65,105 students in five years. During the same period, number of Indian student enrollment grew at a smaller rate and added 24,431 more students in 2009/10 as compared to 2004/05 and much of this growth in the recent years have come because of OPT.

OPT is masking the real decline in Indian students:
IIE Open Doors reports 1.6% growth in enrollment in Indian students which translates into 1,637 additional students as compared to last year. Digging deeper and analyzing the break-up by the academic level, it becomes clear that Indian students have only grown in the OPT category. The number of Indian students on OPT increased by 4,746 while the number of students enrolled in degree programs decreased by 3,137 students, giving a misleading impression of growth in total enrollment.

This significant increase of Indian students in OPT is a direct effect of a very effective policy initiative by the US which allows for extension of OPT from regular 12 months to 29 months for STEM fields. This rule came into effect from April, 2008 and its adoption became more valuable with the recessionary cycle. Given that 57% of all Indian students are enrolled in engineering and computer science programs (see related posting), which qualify for 29-months OPT rule, many Indian students are opting for OPT. Under this arrangement, technically, a students is still "enrolled" in an academic program with an F-1 visa and hence included in the IIE Open Doors numbers.

Where are Indians going?
The UK have been the biggest net gainer of Indian students. Enrollment of Indian students in the UK increased by 8,160 in the period 2007-08 to 2008-09 (Universities UK). More recently, the visa statistics for 2010 admissions indicate significant increase in interest for the UK. This is a result of three interrelated factors:

1) The Australia effect:
The concerns of safety resulted in nearly 5,000 less students enrolling in the Australian higher education (excluding VET etc.) in September 2010 as compared to last year. In fact, total enrollments and commencements (new enrollments) declined by nearly 20% and 48% respectively. Lot of this traffic got redirected to the UK and Canada and less to the US. 

2) US didn't gained from the loss of Australia:
US gained little from the redirecting of the traffic from Australia. This is primarily because even if Indian students are interested in studying in the US, their acceptance rate from the universities is decreasing. This in turn is a result of the very narrow set of institutions in engineering and business which Indian students apply to. Indian students also tend to rely heavily on assistanships and these are much harder to get because of the budgetary crisis of US public universities. See the detailed analysis here.

3) Aggressive recruitment strategies by the UK universities:
These aggressive strategies included use of agents and representative offices in India. For example, the University of Bedfordshire which enrolls about 1,700 Indian students, uses an extensive network of agents and representative office to counsel and recruit students. Likewise, the University of Warwick has representative offices and  University of Salford has multiple agent engagements.

The trend for fall'2011 admissions will be quite similar where UK along with Canada will continue to attract traffic from US and Australia. For the fall'2012 admissions cycle, US economy would have stabilized and Australia would have overcome it's "unfriendly" image for Indians, over-representation of Indians in business and engineering would prompt UK to slow down, while rest of the Europe with Bologna master's programs will gain traction, and Canada will attract talent leveraging immigration and funding policies.

Overall, Indians will continue to seek opportunities to study abroad and will be more open to explore alternative destinations. Although, US will remain the leading destination in the short-term, its preeminence is doubtful in the long term.

I welcome any thoughts/comments/experiences you would like to share.

Dr. Rahul Choudaha
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November 11, 2010

Guru Mantra: William Brustein, Ohio State University

Dr. William I. Brustein
Vice Provost for Global Strategies and International Affairs

Dr. William I. Brustein is Vice Provost for Global Strategies and International Affairs and Professor of Sociology, Political Science, and History at the Ohio State University. He has served previously as the senior international officer at the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Brustein has published widely in the areas of political extremism and ethnic/religious/racial prejudice. His most recent books are The Logic of Evil: the Social Origins of the Nazi Party, 1925 to 1933 (Yale University Press, 1996) and Roots of Hate: Anti-Semitism in Europe Before the Holocaust (Cambridge University Press, 2003). He is past-president of the Association of International Education Administrators (AIEA) and current Chair of NAFSA’s International Education Leadership Knowledge Community. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Association for Studies in International Education, the editorial advisory boards of the Journal of Studies in International Education, the International Education Report, and the executive committee of the Commission on International Programs of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU). In 2003 he was appointed to the NASULGC’s Task Force on International Education and helped draft the published report entitled A Call to Leadership: The Presidential Role in Internationalizing the University.

Rahul- You have proposed the concept of Gateways as a part of the strategy to create a global university. Please share how Gateway approach is more efficient and relevant as compared to other options you considered?
Dr. Brustein- The gateway approach is designed to strengthen several priorities of the university including faculty teaching and research collaborations, international institutional partnerships, international educational experiences for our students, recruitment of international students and scholars, international alumni networking, cultivation of donor prospects, and the global competitiveness of Ohio companies. We examined several models of international engagement (e.g., establishing offshore campuses, setting up an office at an overseas university, etc.) to further our list of priorities and came to the conclusion that the gateway strategy was the most cost effective, comprehensive, and flexible option for our university. Our designation of gateway sites emerged from a systematic examination of current international activities and engagement as well as future interests. As the Land-Grant Flagship University of Ohio we took into consideration countries in which Ohio companies have significant international presence. The current list of gateway locations for Ohio State includes China, India, Brazil, Turkey, Poland, Great Britain and sub-Saharan East Africa. A central component of the gateway strategy is the establishment of an office within the commercial hub of each gateway region. Rather than purchase space we have set out to rent space-- modest in size but capable of allowing us to facilitate and promote our international priorities. Our aim is to select locations within the central business districts easily accessible to our faculty, students, alumni, friends, and corporate partners. An eventual goal for each gateway office is to secure a business license which will allow us to design and offer executive training programs for Ohio and other multinationals for the purpose of enhancing their global competiveness within the gateway region. These programs will be designed and offered by our faculty in areas of demand for which we have highly-regarded expertise (e.g., food safety, foreign corrupt practices act, STEM training, etc.).

Rahul- The first Gateway in China is already operational and you plan to establish a Gateway in India in summer 2011. What are the some of the key learning from the China experience and how do you plan to approach Indian market?
Dr. Brustein- Our China Gateway office located in Shanghai has exceeded our expectations. It opened in February 2010 with the appointment of Ms. Phoebe You as our director. Since February 2010 we have witnessed a tripling of the number of active Ohio State alumni in China, a gigantic leap in the numbers of Chinese students who have applied to Ohio State for undergraduate and graduate admissions, an uptick in the cultivation of donor prospects, a significant increase in faculty collaborations as evidenced by new MOUs with Nanjing University, Shanghai Jiao-Tong University, the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, and new interests on the part of our students to study in China and to seek out internships. We are now working closely with several Ohio and western multinational companies to customize executive training programs for their employees. Among key lessons learned from the experience so far with respect to the establishment of the China Gateway, I would list that one needs to stay quite alert to the sudden changes in governmental regulations regarding the operations of foreign offices in China, that relationship building is critical to a university’s success in China, and that designing executive training programs for corporate clients in China requires a considerable investment of time and an understanding that the kinds of offerings which might appeal to corporate clients in Brazil and India may need to be customized to the Chinese market. As we move forward with our plans to open up our gateway office in Mumbai, we feel that many of the lessons gained from our effort in China will enable us to move more quickly with regard to the design and launch of executive training programs. Rather than pursue a liaison office initially as we did in China, our current thinking is that we will apply right away for a PLC license for the requirements for such a license differ significantly between China and India. Among the types of executive training programs we are envisioning for India we are working with our faculty on offerings in the area of sustainable development, STEM education, food and water quality, supply chain logistics and management and work force development.

Rahul- You have extensive leadership experience in building international partnerships. What are the two critical success factors in building sustainable international partnerships?
Dr. Brustein- I fear that many international partnerships have been undertaken without adequate strategic thinking about the expected benefits and risks and how these global partnerships contribute to the teaching, discovery, and engagement missions of the university. There is no question that global institutional partnerships constitute a major building block of the global university for they can buttress and enrich the three principal missions of a university. However, frequently valuable resources are expended on establishing a partnership with a foreign institution without the partners sitting down in advance and asking what does each expect to gain from the partnerships and how much does each partner expect to contribute. For the partnership to have a realistic chance of succeeding it requires that each side sees it as adding value to its core priorities. What objectives should a university pursue in establishing global partnerships? It makes little sense for our universities to attempt to set up institutional partnerships in as many countries as possible. It is much better to have a few substantial partnerships than to have many superficial ones. When deciding upon potential partners think of how that partner’s research and teaching strengths could complement those of your institution. Once you have constituted a viable institutional partnership think of ways your institution can build upon the initial relationship both vertically and horizontally. Again, the primary motivation for expansion has to be based on mutual self interests. A relationship initiated from complementary faculty research interests in chemical engineering can expand to include team-taught courses in chemical engineering and the development of a professional dual degree master’s as well as become a good starting point to explore the possibilities of teaching and research collaborations in other fields, exchange of faculty and students, recruitment of international students, development of an alumni chapter, fundraising initiatives, a portal for study abroad programs for that world region, and dual or joint degrees. The essential point is to see how other institutional objectives might be fulfilled by expanding upon the inaugural relationship.
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November 09, 2010

Indian students' enrollment decline in the US universities

Number of offers and first-time enrollment of Indian students at the US graduate programs continued to decrease for the third year in a row by 4% and 3% respectively, according a report by CGS. This is in contrast to the continued interest of Indian students to apply for US graduate programs, as indicated by the number of applications. (See related analysis on Indian students here and here).

The number of applications from India for 100 largest institutions has increased by 3% while number of offers from the these universities has decreased by 3% (CGS). This indicates that while more Indian students are interested in studying in the US universities, there is lesser interest by the universities to admit them.

The most important factor for the decrease in offers by the US universities is that Indian students tend to apply to a very narrow set of institutions which are already having a significant concentration of Indian students. For example, 57% of all Indian students are enrolled at master's level program in engineering, computer science and business (NSF). These programs already get large number of applications from Indian students and because of limited differentiation offered by the applicants, universities have to decline Indian students at a higher rate.

In addition, Indian students tend to apply to large, doctoral-level institutions which already have high number of Indian students. This is clear from the increase in the number of applications for 100 largest institutions by 3% as compared to a decrease for all other institutions by 8%. Indians are also heavily concentrated by geography.  More than half of all Indians are enrolled in seven US states and one out of four Indian student is in five metropolitan cities of New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago and Washington, DC (IIE Open Doors) .

Indian students enrolling at the graduate level, also tend to rely heavily on assistanships and these are much harder to get because of the budgetary crisis universities are into.

The overall trend is that Indian students continue to consider US as the most preferred option but their preference may not be reflected in the total enrollment. This is because students are considering only a narrow pool of institutions and programs where they are unable to differentiate and hence are being accepted at a slower rate.
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November 05, 2010

Enrollment Patterns of Indian and Chinese International Students

While the number of students going abroad from China and India are increasing, their enrollment patterns and preferences vary considerably by pace of growth, destination, field of study and level of study. Here are four key comparisions:

  • Growth of Chinese is outpacing Indians
Interest for foreign education is growing at a much faster rate among Chinese as compared to Indians. For example, the number of applications for fall 2010 admissions to US has increased by 20% from China as compared to 1% from India (CGS). Likewise, undergraduate enrollments in 2008-09 for Chinese students grew by nearly 10,000 students as compared to about 2,000 Indian students (IIE Open Doors).

  • Chinese preferring US; Indians the UK
While US is the leading destination for Chinese and Indians, there seems to be an increasing interest from Chinese for the US and from Indians for the UK. Enrollment of Chinese students in the UK increased by 1,680 as compared to 8,160 Indians in the period 2007-08 to 2008-09 (Universities UK). Likewise, enrollment of Chinese students in the US increased by 17,383 as compared to 8,697 Indians in the period 2007-08 to 2008-09 (IIE Open Doors).

  • Chinese prefer business programs and Indians engineering
Indian students are heavily concentrated in Engineering or Computer Science and there are twice as many Indians as Chinese in these fields of study. Nearly 57% of all Indian students are enrolled in Engineering and Computer Science as compared to 25% for Chinese (NSF). In contrast, Business is the leading field of study for Chinese students. Twice as many Chinese students are enrolled in Business programs as Indian students (NSF).

  • Chinese enroll at across the levels and Indians at master’s level
Indian students are also heavily enrolled at the master’s level. Nearly 69% of all Indian students are enrolled at master’s level, 14% at undergraduate and 18% at doctoral level (NSF). In contrast, least proportion of Chinese students is at master’s level with 29% followed by 33% at doctoral and 38% at undergraduate level (NSF).

There are several reasons for the differences in the enrollment patterns of Chinese and Indian students. However, three key reasons are size of education systems, ability to afford education and future career expectations/options. Supply of students seeking foreign education is higher for China as compared to India. China has about 27 million students enrolled in tertiary education as compared to 15 million for India (Global Education Digest).

Chinese have nearly double purchasing power than Indians (World Bank) and Chinese students also get more concentrated support as a single child in their family. This helps them pursue busines programs which are expensive and offer little financial aid as compared to engineering where assistantships are more available. Given the growth of Information Technology services industry, Indians see engineering as an attractive career options with opporunities of long term settlement in the US.

Indians anyways prefer to study abroad for the master’s level education and UK universities are becoming more popular because of better return on investments from the one-year master’s program. On the other hand, Chinese are already in large number in the UK, which is indicating more preference by the UK universities for Indian students.

I will be posting addtional analysis after the IIE Open Doors data is released in next couple of weeks.

- Dr. Rahul Choudaha

Data Resources:
Global Education Digest
IIE Open Doors
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November 02, 2010

Comprehensive internationalization strategy for higher education institutions: Published article in EDU

Published article on the need of comprehensive internationlization strategy for higher education institutions in the EDU magazine. Given below is the summary. Click here to read the full article.

Internationalization is a competitive compulsion for higher education institutions that are in the race for quality and excellence. There are several Indian institutions which have approached internationalization in a piecemeal fashion, however, there are no exemplars which have pursued a comprehensive strategy.

This is critical as internationalization is an expensive process with controllable and uncontrollable risks. Further, gaining the confidence of reputed foreign universities for collaborations or recruiting foreign students is a time and resource intensive process.

Comprehensive internationalization is an opportunity to create long-term differentiation and value-addition for the university or college. Here are five steps to approach it:

- Develop an internationalization plan
- Align processes and resources
- Forge sustainable and innovative collaborations
- Take a talent perspective
- Develop thought leadership

Relevant resources:
- Book- Building a Strategic Framework for Comprehensive Internationalization
- Strategy for Comprehensive Internationalization: Portland State University
- Virginia Tech International Strategic Plan

Dr. Rahul Choudaha
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October 26, 2010

TIME: Steep learning curve for American universities in India

I was quoted in TIME magazine article on interest and engagement of foreign universities in India. The article discussed opportunities, challenges and models of engagement. It rightly summed up "The American schools, true to their nation's entrepreneurial heritage, see the opportunity as too ripe to pass up." Click here to read full article.
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October 18, 2010

Advertising (mal)practices: Lack of professional standards

Education sector was the highest spender on print advertising in India and constituted 15% of all print advertising in the first half of 2010 (AdEx Analysis). Within this the top spender is Planman Consultant (IIPM). Planman is now also spending money on TV advertising and is the biggest spender under education sector (watch advertisement) The big question is--Is IIPM through Planman misleading students and families and overclaiming its quality? There are many who believe so. Consider this exhaustive investigation by Careers360--IIPM-Best only in claims? Or this recent analysis of advertising influence of IIPM on media. However, IIPM believes it is not misleading students. Recently, UGC issued a notification that IIPM “does not have the right of conferring or granting degrees as specified by the University Grants Commission.” Why Indian institutions are in this state of overpromising and overclaiming? What are the implications on students?

Competition is intensifying in higher education sector and many institutions in India are engaged in over-promising and misrepresenting. This happens in other consumer sectors too, however, here stakes for the consumers (students) are very high. A detergent company claiming whiteness of shirt has very different implications as compared to an educational institution claiming 100% placement or a coaching institute claiming selection to top institution, when the reality is poor offering. The influence of unfulfilled claims is not only on the career and expectations of students directly but their families too.

This means that ethical standards and their enforcement for education sector should be much stringent. In contrast, there are no guidelines from the sector or from the policymakers. For the first time, ASCI proposed self-regulatory Guidelines for Advertising of Educational Institutions. It appropriately acknowledges that the nature of education services which is different from tangible product and highly influenced by factors like "...qualification nomenclatures, abbreviations, icons, logos, claims, affiliations, testimonials, accreditations, admissions, job and compensation" where wide variety of promises exist. See related story in Business Standard.

At the policy level, the bill to check malpractices in education--The Prohibition of Unfair Practises in Technical, Medical Educational Institutions and Universities Bill-- had proposed penalties upto Rs.5 million for misleading advertising. Unfortunately, the discussion on bill has been deferred due to priorities on other bills.

While challenge of overpromising and underdelivering is rampant in Indian education sector, it is also gaining attention in the US. Last month, US GAO report found evidence that for-profit colleges "encouraged fraud and engaged in deceptive and questionable marketing practices." See the video clips of undercover operation. In June 2010, US Department of Education also proposed negotiated rulemaking for improving integrity among education providers qualified for federal financial aid. It notes that there are "...overly aggressive career college recruiters signing up students, only to have them drop out weeks later and default on their loans. Despite these concerns, for-profit institutions have never been required to substantiate the claim that they are preparing students for 'gainful employment.'"

Undoubtedly competition is good  and advertising/marketing serves an important function in the sector, however, it is high time that institutions realize that they are not selling detergents or cigarettes and create new benchmarks of ethical standards. Likewise, policy framework should become vigilant and enforce these standards in the interest of students.

-Dr. Rahul Choudaha
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October 13, 2010

Why does India lack world-class universities?

My article--World class aims demand quality--was published in the October 14th issue of the Times Higher Education.

Why does India lack world-class universities? It is easy to point to the lack of resources - money and time - needed to build such institutions. More importantly, however, Indian higher education fails to fully recognise the value of the most essential resource in such an endeavour, namely talent. An awareness of the importance of attracting the best talent - students, faculty and administrators - in delivering quality is sorely missing.

The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2010-11 featured six universities from mainland China, two from Turkey and none from India. The easiest defence for India is to attack the rankings' methodology, but this league table is yet another reminder of the ugly truth of Indian higher education: quality is simply not a priority at institutional or policy level.
There is no dearth of self-proclaimed world-class institutions in India, even though when claims of world-class faculty, research or infrastructure are benchmarked to global institutions through proxies such as the THE rankings, they fail miserably. Nevertheless, the term "world-class" is loosely used not only by institutions but also by the government. Unfortunately, the recent announcement of the establishment of 14 "innovation universities" meeting world-class standards has yet to move beyond an attractive concept.
Why does India lack world-class universities? It is easy to point to the lack of resources - money and time - needed to build such institutions. More importantly, however, Indian higher education fails to fully recognise the value of the most essential resource in such an endeavour, namely talent. An awareness of the importance of attracting the best talent - students, faculty and administrators - in delivering quality is sorely missing.
Let us take a basic comparison of research productivity between Zhejiang University in China, 197th in the THE rankings, and the University of Delhi, which is one of the better-known public universities in India.
A simple search for "University of Delhi" on Google Scholar produces about 30,000 results, compared with nearly 330,000 for "Zhejiang University". This difference becomes even more stark when one considers the relative size of the institutions. Delhi has almost 138,000 students enrolled in formal education programmes against Zhejiang's 39,000.
Such inefficient research productivity reflects not only a lack of recognition of research as one of the core measures of a world-class university but also a lack of an ecosystem of talent. For example, consider the number of PhD candidates at the two universities. Only one in 50 students at the University of Delhi is enrolled in a doctoral programme, compared with one in six at Zhejiang.
Admittedly, Indian universities have at least two significant systemic challenges. First, the landscape of Indian higher education is quite complex. Both public and private colleges are affiliated to public universities, resulting in a high variability of quality within institutions. Second, in just over 60 years of independence, India has struggled to pull together resources, focusing on access and quantity instead of quality.
Although India cannot turn its back on access, nor can it afford to waste its higher-education resources by expanding an inefficient system. Continued expansion without a keen focus on quality will merely result in a larger inefficient system. It is time that quality orientation takes precedence, at least in the short term.
One may argue that India has no need of "world-class" higher education institutions, given the country's resource constraints and widening-access priorities. But I believe that India needs exemplars to raise the overall quality of the system and to provide world-class solutions to its many challenges. Building truly excellent universities will require a comprehensive approach to attract and retain top talent.
Dr. Rahul Choudaha
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October 09, 2010

Brain Gain Strategy for India: Gyan Ratna To Recognize and Attract Top Talent

Kapil Sibal's First 100-days action plan mentioned "Formulation of a 'Brain-Gain' policy to attract talent from across the world to the existing and new institutions." Sam Pitroda had also proposed setting up of a fund of $500 million to attract select faculty and researchers to India.

The fund proposal is facing criticism on at least two major fronts. First, the proposed amount of $500 million seems to be too high in the context of resource constraints and other priorities. The total budget of all 15 IITs is less than the $500 million. Another major concern is about the demotivating effect of high differential compensation on the academicians and researchers who opted to stay in India.

I applaud the ministry and Sam Pitroda to think along the lines of attracting the best talent to improve quality of higher education. This had been one of the most important areas which has not got enough attention. However, I argue that approach of attracting top talent through monetary incentives alone would be very expensive and even inefficient.

I see two other limitations with the proposal--appealing to the wrong needs of global faculty and lack of comprehensive approach on talent. Maslow's need hierarchy defines five levels of needs from Basic needs to Complex needs. The proposal of attracting talent through money alone aims at Basic level needs like Physiological, Safety and Social needs, while the approach should be to appeal to Complex needs like Esteem and Self-actualization. "Esteem needs focus on self-respect and include recognition and respect from others. Fulfilling esteem needs produces feelings of self-confidence, prestige, power, and control." "Self-actualization needs focus on the attainment of one's full potential."

Second, limitation of the fund proposal is that it lacks a comprehensive approach. The objective should not only be to attract the best Indian talent from abroad but also to attract foreign talent to engage with Indian higher education. Furthermore, there are many high caliber faculty and researchers who's work is unappreciated. Thus, the approach should be to improve the competitiveness, productivity and professionalism of the education sector by attracting the best talent from any part of the world.

Gyan Ratna: Recognize the service and excellence in education

I propose that government should appeal to the esteem and self-actualization needs of top academicians and by recognizing them through a national title like Gyan Ratna (which means Jewel of Knowledge). These titles could be along the principles of Bharat Ratna which is "...the highest civilian honour, given for exceptional service towards advancement of Art, Literature and Science, and in recognition of Public Service of the highest order." While Bharat Ratna are highly selective, only 41 awards till date, Gyan Ratna will be more broad-based and may even have 10-15 titles to be awarded every year.

Gyan Ratna would be an aspirational title awarded by the Ministry of HRD to educators, irrespective of their nationality, who have made exemplary contributions in the field education and research in India.

This would include three segments:
1. academicians based abroad and committing to come back
2. academicians already based in India but making global impact
3. foreign academicians engaging with India

Basic criteria need to be defined to ensure that title holders are achievers in their field of work and are committed to contributing to Indian education sector. It would have both a qualitative and quantitative evaluation system where a point-based system may weigh several criteria including PhD earned in India or abroad, number of citations, number of years of experience in higher education, commitment for working in India etc. The qualitative selection process should be non-political and peer-review based.

Of course, a title alone would not attract the best talent and would need support from other strategies like availability of an ecosystem of research and decent salary levels, however, Gyan Ratna would create aspirations and attractiveness for one of the noble professions which is in dire need of quality and professionalism.

What are your thoughts/comments/suggestions?
Dr. Rahul Choudaha
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October 03, 2010

International student enrollment for fall 2010: Increasing interest for US & UK universities

Public universities in the US are reporting record enrollment of international students (listen to my interview on NPR). Here are some examples:

University of Cincinnati: up 8%
Kent State University, Ohio: up 26%
Indiana State University: up 13%
University of Colorado, Boulder: up 11%
Iowa State University: up 10%
The University of Michigan-Flint: up 40%
Montana Tech: up 11%
University of Central Oklahoma: up 17%
Arkansas State University: up 35%

There are two primary reasons for record enrollments:
1. Decreasing state budget cuts
2. Increasing demand from source countries

At a time when private sector is showing signs of recovery, higher education is still facing budget cuts. According to Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, at least 43 states have implemented cuts to public colleges and universities. For example, Georgia has reduced state funding for public higher education for FY2011 by $151 million, or 7%. Similarly, US News and World Report notes that estimated state tax support from 2008-2010 for US public higher education was down by average 7% and for some states like Ohio it was even worse with a decrease of 14%.

In these circumstances of budget cuts, public institutions have limited options--cut costs, raise tuition or increase tuition earned per FTE. International students who pay non-resident fee and get no federal financial aid help universities by increasing the revenue potential for the universities. For example, undergraduate international students at the University of Cincinnati increased by 13% or 60 more freshmen enrolled as compared to last year. These additional 60 students will contributed nearly $1 million in incremental revenue over four years as compared to in-state students.

On the supply side, countries like China and India have seen rapid expansion at the school and undergraduate level, however, economy has not expanded at the same pace to absorb all students. For China, the gross-enrollment ratio increased from 6 % to 23% percent in a decade. Similarly, for India, the annual intake of engineering seats has doubled to over 1 million in five years. This rapid expansion has resulted in increasing demand at the graduate level. Another factor supporting mobility of China and Indian students at the undergraduate level is the increasing prosperity and affordability. For example, According to 2010 Asia-Pacific Wealth Report there were 477,000 and 127,000 US dollar millionaires in China and India respectively in 2009. This is an increase of 31% and 50% for China and India respectively from 2008.

The trend of increasing enrollment of international students at public universities is also witnessed in the UK where budget cuts have made international students more lucrative. For example, according to BBC, Welsh universities expecting a record enrollment of international students with an increase of up to 20%. Likewise, the Telegraph reported that "Vice-chancellors said they would increasingly turn to students from outside Britain and Europe to plug a multi-billion pound hole in university finances"

Overall, fall 2010 enrollments show continued strong interest by international students for US and UK as the destination and budget cuts are compelling universities to go all the way to make the best of this interest and recruit international students.

What enrollment trends are you witnessing?

Dr. Rahul Choudaha
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September 28, 2010

Interviewed on NPR on international students trends

I was interviewed by National Public Radio- NPR's Tell Me More show by Michel Martin. NPR reaches 27million listeners every week. The interview focused on international students enrollment trends in the US universities.

Listen to the interview.

Dr. Rahul Choudaha
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September 26, 2010

India: Time to focus on quality

September had been quite an eventful month for India. It made news for embarrassing, funny and disappointing reasons.

Funny: One thing which India has done well both in reality and fantasy is--outsourcing. Indian outsourcing industry have grown at a fast pace and also maintained quality. NBC's new series Outsourced also managed to do well. However, good jokes and "outsourcing" success could not  help overcome embarrassment and disappointment in other spheres.

Embarrassing: Inefficiencies in preparations for the Commonwealth Games proved that there is a long way to go before India could gather infrastructure both soft and hard to manage global events. It manifested that corruption is deep seated and compromise on quality is rampant.

Disappointing: Not a single Indian institution figured in the latest Times Higher Education ranking. In contrast, Mainland China had 6 and Turkey had 2 universities listed in top-200. Of course, easy way to defend is to attack the methodology of the ranking, however, when put in the context of other institutions, claims of having world-class institutions in India seem hollow.

Its time that in India, quality orientation starts taking precedence over quantity. Specifically, for Indian higher education, in the immediate short term, the priority both at the institutional and policy level should be competitiveness and quality and not expansion (my earlier posting on credential inflation). If the system is inefficient and one continues to expand it without focus on quality the result would be an expanded inefficient system. If more than 1/4th of the graduates remain unemployed, why increase the sheer volume of unemployed? Why not focus on making them skilled and employable?

-Dr. Rahul Choudaha
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September 22, 2010

Yale-NUS Collaboration

Recently, Yale and National University of Singapore signed a MoU to collaborate for establishing a new liberal arts college. It's an important landmark in the area of international institutional collaborations in general and US-Asia partnerships in specific. It is important for at least three reasons which have implications for future collaborations:

1. Deriving value: Institutions need to build partnerships which create mutual value. To derive the value they have to invest in partnership but the key is that investment does not always have to monetary from both parties. Here it is important to evaluate what each party is investing and what each is deriving. In this MoU, Yale is making absolutely no direct financial investment and hence NUS and Singapore government are making financial investments. On the other hand, Yale is investing intellectual capital and brand equity which is much higher than NUS but at the same time it is gaining access to Asian market in a way it could not do by going solo.

2. Engaging stakeholders: Building a world-class partnership requires engagement and participation of stakeholders. There is always a risk that wider engagement may derail the processes and priorities. However, this is where it is important to understand the unique nature of educational leadership especially at research universities, which requires consensus building. As Prof. Warren Bennis notes "So, unlike autocratic CEOs of yore, the would-be Larry Summerses of today's academic world face the near-impossible task of forming and managing coalitions. That's no easy feat when you consider the often warring factions within individual constituencies." Here, the Yale-NUS prospectus did a good job of clearly addressing the faculty issues including curriculum, research and academic freedom.

3. Transparent communication: When the leading brands like Yale are involved in the collaboration it is bound to create news, however, the challenge is that speculation and misinterpretations also float at a rapid pace. Thus, a clear and transparent communication becomes very important. Yale has posted details about the nature and scope of the collaboration on its website and has addressed some of the key issues including that Yale will not award the degree or make any financial investment.

The prospectus states that "There is no urgency for Yale to venture abroad with a new campus now, but we do believe it is inevitable that the world's leading universities by the middle of this century will have international campuses." This is an encouraging sign which shows that internationalization of higher education will get much deeper and wider role in future.

Also see my earlier posting on international collaboration and world-class universities.

-Dr. Rahul Choudaha
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September 05, 2010

Credential Inflation: Raise the Quality Bar

"Credential inflation refers to the devaluation of educational or academic credentials over time and a corresponding decrease in the expected advantage given a degree holder in the job market." Wikipedia

According to Randall Collins "The process of credential inflation is largely self-driven; it feeds on itself. A given level of education at one time gave access to elite jobs. As educational attainment has expanded, the social distinctiveness of that degree and its value on the occupational marketplace have declined; this in turn has expanded demand for still higher levels of education."

Both China and India have been on the expansion spree and are heading towards a grim situation of underemployment and unemployment among educated youth. Unless, quality and university-industry relationships start taking an important place in policy and practice.

Recent BusinessWeek story highlighted that 1 in 4 of this year's 6.3 million Chinese college graduates are unemployed. It adds that "The problem of graduate unemployment and underemployment has been building for years, due to rising university enrollments and a mismatch between what students learn and the skills companies need."

The options for these unemployed or underemployed graduates is primarily further education either in China or abroad. This is further resulting in the growth of programs at the graduate level and also enrollments abroad.

India is also in a similar state where number of engineering colleges have doubled to 3,000 colleges in 5 years (AICTE). While the skills, quality and employability issues have not been addressed both at the policy and institutional levels. A TISS report confirmed increasing unemployment among educated youth in India. This is paradoxical as only 12% of the addressable population (18-24 years) is enrolled in higher education.

Expansion of higher education without quality is like building a car with square wheels. Many students are graduating with credentials which have limited value to themselves or to the society. It's high time that credential inflation is checked and quality starts gaining prominence. As Collins puts it "The issue boils down to whether we want to manage credential inflation, manipulating policy to smooth out peaks and valleys, or let it take its own bumpy course."

Dr. Rahul Choudaha
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September 01, 2010

Failure of foreign campuses: Recognize the importance of student-decision making

Published an article entitled "Foreign Campuses: Tried and Tested" in EDU on failure of foreign campuses and need of understanding student-decision making.

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August 22, 2010

Indian students aspire for top US universities: Applications up; offers down

In my earlier postings, I argued that Indians will continue to go abroad for higher education and US will maintain its prominence. The recent report by the Council of Graduate Studies confirms the trend. According to this report, applications from India for fall 2010 are up by 1%. Many expected that the impact of recession and increasing choices both at home and abroad would decrease the outward mobility of Indian students. However, I believe that outward mobility will remain high for at least three reasons:
1. Indian higher education system has grown at a rate much faster than the capacity of the economy to absorb.
2. Quality of higher education at majority of the institutions is mediocre resulting in skills gap and unemployability.
3. Further education options at the graduate level in India are not very aspirational, except MBA.

  • More Indians are aiming for top-100 institutions:

Within the US, Indian students continue to aspire for top-100 institutions. This is an indicator of the "reputation" obsession by many prospective Indian students. For example, according to the CGS survey, applications from Indians increased by 12% for 10 largest institutions but fell by 8% for institutions outside 100 largest institutions, in terms of the graduate degrees awarded in academic year 2007-08. This perception issue poses challenges for institutions outside top-100 in attracting Indian talent, despite having excellent programs and fit with the student.

  • Acceptance of Indian students is slowing at the leading US institutions:

While Indian students continue to apply to the US universities, there seems to be slowing down of the acceptance by leading US institutions. This is evident from the decreasing rate of offers to Indian students as compared to the increasing rate of applications by Indians. For last three years, number of offers to Indian applicants had been decreasing. This includes admission to fall 2009 class when applications from India fell by 12% but offers fell even sharper by 14%.

Given that a large proportion of Indian applicants are competing for the same top-100 institutions, which already have large number of Indian students, the rate of acceptance had been decreasing at these institutions.  This is in contrast with admissions trends from China, which has seen double digit growth in applications and offers in last three years. This could also be a result of higher propensity of Indian applicants to rely on scholarships/assistantships as compared to Chinese applicants.

  • 3 out of 4 Indian students are enrolled in engineering/computer science or  business

Indian students are also very heavily concentrated in engineering or business fields. For example, 1 out of 2 Indian student is enrolled in engineering or computer science (NSF Report, 2010). This is in primarily driven by the expansion of engineering programs at undergraduate level in India and also it had been relatively easy to find work opportunity in the US IT services industry. With Business field added in mix, 3 out of 4 Indians are enrolled in Engineering/Computer Science and Business. This clearly indicates, the popularity of career-safe, professional programs among Indian students.

Recent trends, reaffirm that expansion and supply characteristics at undergraduate level in India will continue to fuel aspirations of Indian students to study abroad, especially the US. They will also continue to seek programs that support professional and career advancement.

Any thoughts/comments?

- Dr. Rahul Choudaha
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August 19, 2010

Guru Mantra: Surendra Kaushik, Helena Kaushik Women’s College

Dr. Surendra K. Kaushik
Founder and Chairman,
Mrs. Helena Kaushik Women's College

Professor, Pace University in New York
Blog: Kaushik College for Women
Blog: Surendra Kaushik's Blog

Dr. Surendra K. Kaushik founded the Mrs. Helena Kaushik Women’s College ( in India in 1999 which is affiliated with the University of Rajasthan. The college has grown on a 30-acre new campus with 760 graduates with a B.A. B. Sc, B. Sc in Biotechnology, B.Ed., M.A., and M.Sc. in Biotechnology from 2002 to 2010. He is producer of A College for Women documentary about the Mrs. Helena Kaushik Women’s P.G. College directed by Sanjay Singh which had its world premiere at the first Pravasi Film Festival and a special screening at the Press Club of India. Dr. Kaushik has been awarded the Aruna Asaf Ali Sadhbhavana Award of the Minorities League of India, Hind Rattan Award of the NRI Society of India, Shiromani Rashtriya Vikas Award of the Delhi Telugu Academy, The New York State Assembly Legislative Resolution in April 2009, Making a Difference Award of the Children’s Hope India in October 2009, and New Jersey General Assembly Resolution in May 2010. He is a member of the Mewar Shiromani Sabha, established by Shriji Arvind Singh Mewar of Udaipur, India since August 2009.
He received a Ph.D. in economics from Boston University in 1976 and has taught at  Pace University in New York since  1981 where he is a professor of finance,  Boston University, Northeastern University, Lowell Technological Institute and Babson College. 
Dr. Kaushik can be contacted at: and phones are: (914) 762-6168; (914) 602-2507 in the United States;   (01595) 276593 at the College and mobile 94 13 11 12 80 in India.

Rahul- What were the drivers of establishing Mrs. Helena Kaushik Women’s College? What makes the college different and value-adding?
Dr. Kaushik- At a personal level the key driver was giving back to the community. This is a universal value but it is practiced most in the United States where some ninety percent of people give back to society at the individual, family and corporate levels in addition to public programs financed by taxes. This is a value I imbibed outside of the classroom in my education in America. It also fits into the The Whole World is One Family (Vasudev Kutumkum) view in the very beginning of the oldest of the Indian Vedantic scriptures. Going beyond pure self-interest is what makes a community.

The second driver was the sheer necessity of higher education in rural areas of India especially for women who have much less access to higher education.

The third driver was that as difficult as it is and as neglected as it was by government for five decades since Independence in 1947, and before that by feudal rulers and moneyed societal leaders, it was important to demonstrate that it is important to focus on higher education for development and growth of the economy and society, and that can be done.

The College is different in that it is exclusively for women in a remote, desolate and poor area. It has given opportunity to young women from all social, economic and religious groups in the area and they all have taken full advantage of it. More than 750 have already graduated with B.A., B.Sc., B.Ed., M.A., and M.Sc. degrees and most are participating in the market place as teachers, government workers in various fields and family business and agricultural enterprises. The College also connects directly America and India at the grassroots and village level. Villages in India will grow economically with the skills of their people and women are half of the people. India cannot be a powerhouse economy unless it uses the intellectual power and participation of women in all aspects of private and public lives.

Rahul- What are some of the ways in which foreign and Indian organizations/individuals interested in women's education in rural India engage with the College?
Dr. Kaushik- Visits by professors to lecture and to conduct research, business and government leaders to lecture, study abroad visits by students, joint degree and non-degree professional courses by institutions, offering American courses and diplomas, establishment of scholarships, visiting and regular professorships, funding of labs, library, technology, and establishment of training programs and assistance in enterprise creation by the local community would be some of the ways foreign and Indian individuals and institutions can engage with the College. Some 100 people have already visited the College. We would most welcome this type of engagement by individuals, associations and institutions interested in giving opportunity to women of India through education and training.

Rahul- What are the strategic priorities for the institution and how do you see the college evolving in next 3-5 years?
Dr. Kaushik- At present we have a college of arts, science and business and a college of education. We would like to have a polytechnic, a health sciences college, an agricultural college, centers of environmental and women's studies, and a law college. We also have plans to become a university. We would like to have joint programs with foreign and Indian universities. Most importantly, we would like to scale the College to other areas of India by Internet and by physical presence as part of our vision that every district of India should have at least one women's college/university so that ultimately women and men have equal opportunity of education and training throughout India.

We have capacity for more than 2,500 students and residential capacity for 300 students. The College is open to women from all over India and abroad. It is very low cost compared with most colleges in India and it is safe as a self-contained enclave where young women can bond together, become life-long friends and focus on their studies and careers for a bright future for themselves, their families, India and the world.
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August 08, 2010

Five Policy Directions for Engaging Foreign Institutions in India

Published an article on policy directions for engaging foreign education providers in India in University World News. I have co-authored with Professor Alan Ruby of the University of Pennsylvania. See other articles by Prof. Ruby.

We recommend five policy domains to make sure all of the nation's interests are served by this important opening up of an over-regulated, under-resourced sector of the economy to foreign education providers. It will help create an ecosystem of institutions of all kinds and all forms of ownership: public and private, Indian and international, research and vocational, religious and secular, charitable and for-profit.

1. Foreign institutions must be seriously committed to India: Protect the local consumer (student) by ensuring that foreign institutions are seriously committed to India.

2. Students must have better information about options: The government should have students as the focus of the policy directions and there is a need to support students to make informed decisions about their higher education plans.

3. Not just MBA programmes in Mumbai or Delhi: The government should encourage diversity of location, programmes and institutional types.

4. Drop the ban on for-profit institutions: Quality is more likely to come from student choice, public accountability and transparency of outcomes than charitable status alone.

5. Professionalise higher education to foster quality: Create a cadre of faculty and administrators who systematically study and practise the profession of education to foster quality, productivity and innovation in the system.

Dr. Rahul Choudaha
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August 04, 2010

Guru Mantra: Prof. Nigel Thrift, University of Warwick

Professor Nigel Thrift
University of Warwick

Professor Nigel Thrift is a leading human geographer and social scientist, He is an Academician of the Academy of Learned Societies for the Social Sciences and was made a Fellow of the British Academy in 2003. His current research spans a broad range of interests, including international finance; cities and political life; non-representational theory; affective politics; and the history of time. He took up his role as the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Warwick in July 2006. He joined Warwick from the University of Oxford where he was made Head of the Division of Life and Environmental Sciences in 2003 before becoming Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research in 2005.

Rahul - In your recent article in the Chronicle you mentioned that there are very few significant institutional relationships and building relationships takes time and continuous effort. What are your top two recommendations for the Indian institutions who are seeking to build partnerships with UK universities? How should they prepare themselves for building successful partnerships?
Nigel - Building a significant international institutional relationship takes time and concerted effort. One should not expect instant results and one should not simply leap at the first opportunity that presents itself. Rather than seeking to sign a meaningless Memorandum of Understanding with the first, or every, prestigious overseas University that becomes of interest, Indian universities should seek a select group of partners with whom they can create a real and sustained programme of activities that last for all concerned.

Indian universities should also only seek partnerships that involve true reciprocity and real respect: being the subsidiary partner should never be good enough. Any exchanges of staff and students and research partnerships must be mutual and balanced.

Rahul - One of the key goals of the Warwick's Vision 2015 is to raise the international profile of the university. Please share your experiences and initiatives while pursuing these goals. What are your priorities in achieving the internationalization goals?
Nigel - One of the most important goals of a truly global university is that it should ensure that it maximises its potential to be a source of genuine hope in the contemporary world. Universities are arks containing the knowledge that can help us to get out of the problems we have created. As part of Warwick's Vision 2015 strategy we have created a series of “Warwick Commissions” designed to apply academic research to real world problems. I was particularly pleased with the success of the latest Warwick Commission on International Financial Reform, chaired by Professor Avinash Persaud, which actually launched its final report in India and received a significant degree of interest from policy makers and media across the globe.

I have also been pleased to see that the decision to take time to build up real partnerships with a select group of fellow international Universities is not only beginning to produce real benefits for us but is also producing clear benefits for our partners. Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) here at the University of Warwick has been key to forming a partnership with IIT Kharagpur in India. IIT Kharagpur have been able to draw on this partnership to help mentor the creation and development of a new IIT at Bhubaneshwar. WMG’s technology specialists have advised on IIT Bhubaneshwar’s multi-million pound plans to set up laboratories in materials and tomography and a dozen WMG research staff and allied industrialists will now visit India in November to continue to build the overall partnership with Kharagpur and Bhubaneshwar.

Rahul - In another Chronicle article you argue that "Internationalization is difficult." The failure of overseas campuses like MSU Dubai and George Mason at RAK, is making institutions rethink about the pace and approach of internationalization. What are the top two trends you foresee in terms of internationalization plans of universities in next five years?
Nigel - One is greater integration between universities in different countries. Global partnerships between universities could become so intertwined that they eventually become like global "holding companies”. Such close formal agreements would also allow the seamless exchange of students without the need to set up foreign campuses, and joint scientific projects would become easier to organize, permitting universities to share research that might otherwise have been less usefully held by single institutions.

The second is a greater degree of realism about the time scales involved in internationalization – about which institutions and organizations are possible to produce rapidly and which are not!
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