International universities adopts GLOCAL mantra
“The world is rapidly transforming, and with it, our education systems need to evolve to”
In the past, it was accepted that an education system which revolved around competitive exams would prepare students for the job market. Accumulating knowledge was the driving force behind success, but now after digital disruption, (where information is available at your fingertips), this is not the case anymore. The world is rapidly transforming, and with it, our education systems need to evolve to.
Jobs today are fluid, requiring an array of skills ranging from critical thinking, communication and domain knowledge. Further, with the advent of artificial intelligence, Internet of Things and other technological advancements, nobody knows what the careers of the future will look like, what activities will be uniquely human and how organizations will find a balance between automation and human delivered output.
Currently, the system in India requires students to determine what they want to major in before they even start college. In fact, many higher educational institutes only offer “arts” or “science” or “engineering” degrees in their specialisation.
To allow holistic development and facilitate breadth in learning for students, liberal arts colleges are being established across India. A liberal arts education is the perfect option for a student who is equally passionate about diverse subjects like physics and history. In fact, interdisciplinary study–making connections and breaking the invisible lines we have created among the subjects–is a liberal arts education.
One institution that has successfully adopted a liberal arts approach in India is Ashoka University. It has a holistic application process where candidates are evaluated on several criteria, not just academics.
A liberal arts education is the perfect option for a student who is equally passionate about diverse subjects like physics and history
All students of the university must complete the foundation courses (modules in mathematics, science, English, humanities and co-curricular activities which could be a foreign or Indian regional language, visual arts or performing arts) no matter what they intend to major in. Other leading liberal arts colleges include FLAME University, O.P. Jindal Global University, Krea University and more.
Outside of India, Minerva Schools, founded in 2011, challenges the one destination, lecture-style that most universities still deploy. During the undergraduate degree, students live in over seven different cities, where they immerse themselves in the local culture and engage in experiential learning by meeting civic leaders and interacting with organisations besides core academic learning. Every class is a small seminar designed to keep students actively engaged, deepening their understanding of specific subject matter.
Moreover, Minerva doesn’t have a traditional campus; there are multiple campuses all over the world! Graduating with a degree from Minerva will surely make you a global citizen, understand people better and adapt to new places and scenarios – all skills that employers are looking for!
Many traditional colleges have opened up satellite campuses in different parts of the world. New York University, for example, has three degree-granting centres – New York, Abu Dhabi and Shanghai.
Besides study abroad opportunities among these centres, NYU also offers study abroad options at 11 distinguished NYU partner institutions and 27 summer session locations. NYU encourages its students to engage with the local community through service projects, language immersion, cultural outings, and therefore are constantly adding new locations for their study abroad programs.
Many traditional colleges have opened up satellite campuses in different parts of the world
The ‘Education City’ a unique initiative in Qatar boasts branch campuses of some of the world’s leading educational institutes, a homegrown research university, start-up incubators, technology parks, heritage sites, cultural institutions and more in its 12 square kilometre campus.
A true educational hub, with leading institutes such as Georgetown, Carnegie Mellon, Texas A&M, it offers world-class international education in a local setting, redefining the traditional stand-alone university model that still exists globally.
Collaborations among leading local and international institutes, as well as access to each other’s infrastructure, research, classes, and extracurricular opportunities, mean that a student here just has so much more to gain.
Recently, the Government of India has released a draft of the National Education Policy that promotes STEM and experiential learning in classrooms. This will give an impetus to help catalyze curiosity in students which is a precursor to innovativeness. However, how these changes are implemented all across the country in the most remote places is the challenge we will face.
About the author: Namita Mehta is president of education consultancy The Red Pen and has a master’s in Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry from Oxford University. Namita is also an alumnus of Charterhouse Boarding School UK. At The Red Pen, she specialises in training applicants for Oxford and Cambridge interview process.