Higher Education Collaborations: Investing In Capability Building

Oct 18, 2011

Recently held U.S.-India Higher Education Summit in Washington, DC was successful in creating the excitement among the higher education community about the prospects and possibilities in forging collaborations. However, the constraint remains in translating this symbolic event into sustainable partnerships (My earlier article Foreign Universities in India: Who's and Why).

Here, Indian government and institutions have a much bigger role to play in inspiring confidence among the foreign institutions. India does not has to sell the huge potential it offers to foreign institutions in terms of its importance and growth prospects, however it has to communicate that capabilities of Indian policy framework and institutional practices have matured to understand the diversity and complexity of global higher education system.

Some institutions have taken the big leap, while many other remain skeptical and unsure of how to engage with India. Various models of collaborations have been emerging between Indian and foreign institutions. Here is article on examples of US-India collaborations and a more recent article on emerging models of Indian-European higher education collaborations.

During the U.S.-India Summit, I was in Mexico presenting at CONAHEC annual conference (I co-presented a session on North American Student Mobility and a workshop on Quality Assurance in US Higher Education). This was my first time in Mexico and I had an opportunity to visit some of the university campuses (UPAEP, UDLAP and CCU-BUAP). I must admit that campuses were impressive and exceeded my expectations. The experience strengthened my confidence in the institutions and their potential and ability to execute foreign partnerships.

Building global collaborations requires investing in capacity and capability building. An HBR article highlights the need to develop collaboration capabilities as a success factor. It requires "...experimenting to learn what processes and practices work best or by selecting a new partner in order to tap its broader experience of cooperating with others....this willingness to invest in improving partnering capabilities is one of the factors that help successful companies develop collaboration as a new and important source of competitive advantage."

Related articles:
Call for a internationalisation policy on higher education, EDU, August 2011
Finding the perfect international partner, EDU, May 2010
Advantage foreign universities?, EDU, April 2010
Realising the vision of world-class varsities, EDU, March 2010

Dr. Rahul Choudaha

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