Professor Dr Michael Farthing, vice-chancellor of the University of Sussex, in Brighton, UK, was in the city as part of his visit to India to explore potential partnerships with Indian universities.
Founded in 1961, the University of Sussex will celebrate its 50th year in 2011. The university is best known for its Institute of Development Studies. He spoke about partnership with India in an interview to Hindustan Times.
What kind of partnerships is the University of Sussex looking to build with India?
We are looking to work more closely with Indian universities and are exploring possible relations. I firmly believe that education is not a national but a global activity. At the undergraduate level, we are looking to partner with Indian universities for student exchange programmes.
At the post-graduate level, we are looking at dual degrees; say a student does one year of the masters in India and one year at Sussex.
What are the implications of the tightening of UK student visa requirements for Indian students?
It will certainly not get harder for good students to go to good universities. It is not the government’s intention to prevent bona fide students from coming to study in the UK.
At Sussex we have high entry standards already, so it would not affect our students. And if students do need any language support we have a language centre.
British universities have been spoken of as breeding grounds for Islamic radicalism. Is this a concern for Sussex?
It is a concern, and we are taking it seriously but we aren’t overreacting. We have to be vigilant, but that kind of responsibility isn’t restricted to universities alone.
Sussex has an active Islamic society and our students are well integrated. There is no cause for concern when that’s the case. True, radicalism has been linked to universities but I do not know that we can establish that those students were radicalised on campus or that the universities can be held directly responsible.