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Tie-ups preferred

Universities such as Cambridge, Stanford and Duke would rather opt for academic collaborations.

education Updated: Sep 17, 2013 16:17 IST
Gauri Kohli

Most highly-ranked universities do not intend to set up campuses in India. They prefer academic tie-ups instead. The University of Cambridge, ranked third by the QS world ranking recently, has no plans to set up a branch in India, at least for now, as it does not want to compromise on quality. The university would rather go on to work with industry and academic partners in the country in areas such as drug discovery, public distribution network and other associations in science and humanities.

“The Indian government allowing foreign universities to set up campuses there is an interesting development which marks a growing trend towards trans national education. Our own approach to global partnerships is that there is such quality, excellence and potential in the Indian higher education sector that Cambridge wishes to collaborate rather than compete, to be a partner rather than a rival. We already have multiple research collaborations in place with institutions such as JNU, Public Health Foundation of India, IIT-Bombay and IISC, Bangalore, and many others. We are looking to increase these and to promote two-way exchanges of students and faculty for mutual benefit,” says Leszek Borysiewicz, vice chancellor, University of Cambridge.

Stanford Graduate School of Business, that is part of the Stanford University, US, also welcomes the HRD ministry’s decision but would like to adopt a similar policy as the University of Cambridge and many other top-ranked institutions. “In light of the tremendous demand for educated talent in India, this policy move is a step in the right direction. India is an exceptional location for universities and graduate institutions to offer programmes and courses with the goal of making an educational impact in India. Stanford Graduate School of Business

does not have plans to build brick-and-mortar facilities in India at this time. However, in August we launched a nine-week certificate programme called Stanford Ignite in Bangalore. We chose Bangalore as our first global location because of India’s culture of technology and high-potential people who can make an impact in the world. This is the same programme we started eight years ago at Stanford University,” says Garth Saloner, dean, Stanford Graduate School of Business.

The programme teaches non-business professionals about entrepreneurship and innovation. “One of our goals is to leverage Stanford Ignite to develop hubs of entrepreneurship and innovation in Bangalore and in other locations in India. We are investing in the transfer of ideas, in making an impact on high-potential innovators and in educating change agents wherever they live. Technology has made it possible to deliver a highly-interactive, hands-on educational experience for our programme participants in India. We augment that experience by having a small number of faculty teaching courses on the ground in Bangalore. This combination makes it possible for us to leverage some of our best programmes to educate leaders who can change the world,” he says.

Saloner also goes on to add that the b-school is committed to India in the long term. “In the short term, you’ll see us again next year,” he adds.

Duke University that features among the top 25 in the 2013-14 QS rankings has also followed suit. It tied-up with the Centre for Wildlife Studies in Bangalore to collaborate on research and educational programmes earlier this year. The university also started an initiative called Duke Engage in India that focuses on volunteering with non-profit organisations dedicated to working with underserved youth and children with special needs.

“Duke University has a longstanding interest in India, and indeed we have a number of programmes and partnerships in areas such as business, medicine, the environment and gifted and talented youth education, but we have no plans to establish a campus or university in the country,” says Michael Schoenfeld, vice president for public affairs and government relations, Duke University.

Boston College, which is ranked in the top 40 among American research universities, has a firm policy not to establish any branch campuses anywhere. “Many, indeed most, top American universities will not be interested in setting up a branch in India—or anywhere for that matter,” says Philip G Altbach, research professor and director, Center for International Higher Education, Boston College.