International outlook of a university is measured by the number of foreign faculty members and students and international research collaborations.
Sadly, even the best universities in India like the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) and the IITs in Mumbai and Delhi, all of which were selected as Institutions of Eminence by the government ,don’t make the cut in world rankings partly because of low levels of internationalisation.
Even the best of our universities do not feature among the top 200 in the world. It has been argued that internationalisation will improve the world ranking of our universities.
There are approximately 47,000 international students in India.US universities have nearly 5 times more Indian Students as compared to international students in India.
The total number of foreigners teaching in India is overall very low as well. Only 40 foreign nationals teach across 23 IITs, which is less than 1% of the total faculty members. While the number of foreign faculty are good at some private universities the total number of foreigners teaching in India is overall very low.
The government is keen and will soon change this scenario.
WHAT ARE IITs DOING FOR INTERNATIONALISATION??
The IITs have also been taking steps to improve their internationalisation.In August this year , two decisions were taken by the IIT council ,the highest decision-making body for all IITs.
- First, each IIT was free to set the fees for foreign students . The idea was to make the fees competitive for foreign people from low income countries so that many more of them would choose to study at the IITs.
- Second, the council will seek a relaxation to the Citizenship Act so that the IITs could hire foreigners as tenured faculty members. The Citizenship Act 1955 denies permanent jobs to foreigners at public institutions.
There are also other proactive steps which the IITs have taken.Each well-established IIT was allocated one or more geographical areas it would try to recruit foreigners from, for itself and for other IITs.
For example, the ‘US market’ – considered the main ‘hunting ground’ for foreigners – was divided into three regions and allocated to
- IIT-Bombay (West Coast)
- IIT-Delhi (southern US)
- IIT-Madras (East Coast)
IIT-Hyderabad was made responsible for recruiting faculty members from Japan
IIT-Mandi from Scandinavia
IIT-Ropar from Canada.
This show that the IITs are treating this matter seriously.
IIT-Delhi has already taken a leap forward by reducing the tuition fees substantially for international students to make itself a more attractive destination for them, especially students from the neighboring countries and from the Middle East and Africa.
WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES BEING FACED BY IITs ??
The IITs still struggle to offer competitive salaries.
Second, many IITs are located in far-flung places that don’t offer the comforts of larger cities and are thus not particularly attractive to foreigners.
If hiring foreign faculty is a priority for the IITs, then they should consider diversifying and expanding their humanities and social science programmes . Similarly, all other universities should take similar steps and and work proactively towards internationlisation.