Exploring scaling-up of international outreach initiatives through dynamic and personalized approach as well as unique offerings at the institutional level.
IIT Kharagpur has been scaling up its international relations activities since 2015. From setting up an International Relations Office to the hiring of staff, setting processes and systems and entering new collaborations. The Institute has also been engaging in various strategic partnerships in harmony with India’s global alliances and outreach goals. Recently the Director Prof. V K Tewari along with Associate Dean International Relations Dr. Anandaroop Bhattacharya and executives from the Office of International Relations, participated in three strategic events to augment international relations activities.
India has a long-standing relationship with ASEAN which has received considerable impetus in the past few years especially in enhancing cooperation in the field of Science and Technology. Doctoral-fellowship in India for ASEAN (DIA), an initiative sponsored by the Ministry of Education supported by the Ministry of External Affairs, Govt. of India, organized the online summit, IIT-ASEAN Research Cooperation to provide a forum to engage in discussions on Research & Innovation Opportunities in IITs and ASEAN by reputed scientists/academicians. A diverse range of academic disciplines at IIT Kharagpur was showcased in addition to the usual engineering disciplines. Here, graduate and doctoral scholars from ASEAN may pursue their studies in areas such as Architecture (Ranked first in NIRF, Govt. of India), Mining (among world’s top 50 in QS Subject Rank), Naval Architecture, Law (Ranked among top 5 in NIRF, Govt. of India), Agriculture (ranked by QS as India’s best) Space Technology (have active collaborations with ISRO) and the newly launched Indian Knowledge Systems, the first of its kind in the IIT system where scholarly knowledge from Indian traditions will be explored in the light of modern scientific principles. It is imperative that IITs reach out to the ASEAN nations assertively and put forward the niche areas which are of common interest to both countries.
Another strategic partnership IIT Kharagpur pursuing is the BRICS Network University. In the meeting held by BRICS NU National Coordinating Committee, Dept. of Higher Education, MoE, Govt. of India, the Institute emphasized adding national mission projects to the current thrust areas of Computer Science and Cyber Security, which have a huge potential such as Precision Agriculture, Ecology & Environment, Mining, Water Resources and Architecture.
IIT Kharagpur also participated in a review meeting held under the Study in India (SII) initiative by EDCIL to deliberate on how to make India a more preferred destination in the world for higher education. The pressing point of this meeting was how to increase the inflow of foreign students in India in comparison to outbound Indian students. The discussions included initiatives such as designing a common portal for all foreign applications, focus on building more short term courses, exchange programs, transfer of credits, joint doctoral programs, the introduction of bridge courses; supernumerary quota seats other than AICTE, orientation programs for foreign students as well as the engagement of faculty experts to attract foreign students in India. Deliberations were also made towards setting up international offices at each of the participating institutes to assist the foreign students, creating an alumni network for foreign students, revisiting regulations for foreign interns. Considerable up-gradation is required in the facilitation of foreign students including accommodation with special facilities offering a student-friendly eco-system to help sustain them through the tenure of their programs. Further, it has been felt that offering personalized courses fine-tuned with the needs of foreign students would strengthen the position of India as an international destination for higher education.
Authors: Alivia Nag, Koushiki Mukherjee are executives at the Office of International Relations. The report is based on discussions and deliberations made in March 2021 at three international outreach summits.