Opportunities Education

Look at Plan B

There are possibilities of a foreign education despite the pandemic.   | Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to unprecedented restrictions on international travel and large gatherings, including for educational purposes, implying that the number of students who go abroad to study is likely to be much lower this year.

In India, according to a recent report by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), one of the world’s leading providers of education analytics, COVID-19 has impacted the decision of nearly 48% students who wanted to study abroad this year due to the financial and health risks. Despite the high costs of studying abroad, lakhs of students do so primarily for the access to higher quality education and to gain international exposure.

While the latter aspect may not be possible now, students can still access quality education in India with institutions in the country collaborating with foreign partners to increase the appeal of their programmes.

Kinds of collaborations

In some cases, Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) between institutions signal the intent of collaboration on aspects of the curriculum, pedagogy, research, student exchanges and other areas.

Going deeper, collaborations also exist in the form of ‘validations’. To understand this category better, think of college education in three components: the curriculum, the assessment — which can be further broken up into setting, conducting and grading of assessments — and eventually the degree upon graduating. The amount of ‘validation’ differs according to the foreign partner’s involvement in these components. Therefore, the more that is taken on by the foreign partner, the better the global standing and reputation of the programme. The eventual degree awarded also reflects the depth of the foreign institution’s involvement.

The deepest level of collaboration exists where the curriculum as well as all aspects of assessment are taken on fully by the foreign institution. In such collaborations, the domestic partner’s role is like that of the traditional ‘college’ in a ‘university’. This enables the international partner to lend its full title and weight to the degree award and exercise direct control over the quality of education. This comes closest to the experience of ‘studying abroad’.

The depth of collaboration also brings other opportunities, including access to virtual learning resources, lectures by foreign faculty, and international scholarships.

Such international education options in India offer a similar rate of return on a much lower investment. It also offers hope to students who despair of the outmoded domestic education but cannot afford to take the risk of going abroad while COVID-19 rages on.

The writer is the Director and Founder, Indian School of Business & Finance (ISBF)

Related Topics
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Oct 31, 2020 12:58:50 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/education/look-at-plan-b/article32821118.ece

Next Story