Thursday, March 08, 2012

Global varsities make inroads into India

International universities are looking beyond just training employees of conventional industries in India. They are increasingly focusing on sunrise sectors such as healthcare, pharma and higher education. In addition to cashing in on Indian companies’ growing need for executive education, universities are now looking at research. Over a dozen international institutions have visited India to explore tie-ups in this area, with a few more slated to visit the country in the coming weeks.

These universities say they are looking for opportunities to work closely with Indian firms in addition to attracting Indian students to their shores. “The Indian pharmaceutical sector is growing at a fast pace. For this, you also need the right talent to meet the demand. India has the capability to reduce reliance on imports in chemical industry. What is needed is the finance and time to build it,” said Mike Green, Head of School (Chemistry) at Newcastle University.

Green is of the view that at their university, MSc in drug chemistry is one of the most popular courses among the students. His department is also looking at partnership with Indian organisations in the medicinal side of chemistry, especially cancer treatment and diagnosis. Newcastle University in association with the Department of Civil Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, collaborated for work on water and environmental engineering groups. This is being extended to geotechnical and structural engineering with key industrial partners such as Coal India Limited.

At the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn), the focus is not only on getting more Indian students on campus but also on working with India in the areas of higher education, food security and healthcare. Ezekiel J Emanuel, Vice-Provost for Global Initiatives and University Professor at Penn, said, “We are working with the Apollo Hospitals in the area of liver transplant. We are talking to various Indian organisations and institutions. Apart from such mutually beneficial collaborations, we are looking to attract Indian students to our courses,” he said.

Of UPenn’s 2500 students, 15 per cent are Asian students of which Indians form the largest number. Though UPenn wants more students from India, it does not have a set target. The alumni network is helping the institute in this endeavour. Apart from collaborations on how to provide food security, Penn will also assist individuals who want to set up liberal arts colleges across India. UPenn is also looking to contribute through its research in the area of food security. “India was a natural fit, given our long history of engagement. The Centre for the Advanced Study of India at Penn has done a lot of work in the areas of Indian politics and the states. Our focus is to address the global problems and learn from them,” Emanuel added.

Duke University’s Duke Medicine, Duke Global Health Institute, Nicholas School of the Environment, and Sanford School of Public Policy are engaged in various research or teaching partnerships with Indian organisations as diverse as the state of Uttar Pradesh, National Institute of Ocean Technology, Jubilant Organosys and Medicity.

On the management front, while Harvard Business School already has its India Research Centre, Wharton is exploring options in India. US-based Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business is here with Duke Corporate Education (Duke CE) which delivers custom corporate education programs to Indian executives in association with the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.

B-schools of three Canadian Universities — Richard Ivey School of Business at University of Western Ontario, Rotman School of Management at University of Toronto and Schulich School of Business at York University — have already identified India as one of their most important markets.

Ivey has 10 per cent Indian students in their MBA programme and it is planning to increase this number. Scholarships (50 per cent, for Indian students given by a Indian origin Canadian businessmen) and alumni network are being used to attract students. The institute has already developed executive programme for GAIL, and is now ready to partner with a leading telecom player for the same.

Schulich has tied-up with GMR to set up a joint campus in Hyderabad, while Rotman is currently spreading word about its institute in India through the alumni network. Sheldon Dookeran, Assistant Director, MBA Recruitment & Admissions, informs that India is their largest market with about 57 students in a batch of 256. It would be increasing the batch size to 330 for the class of 2014 and expects the number of Indian student to also go up. Rotman is also involved in setting up events for its Indian alumni in the country, where past students and prospective students interact to understand more about the school.

These universities are figuring their way out in the Indian market even as the much-awaited Foreign Education Providers (Regulation) Bill has been gathering dust for almost two years.

Source: Business Standard, March 8, 2012

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