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Strengthening Bridges: Through Student – Faculty Engagements

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Date(s) - 16/04/2022
4:15 pm - 5:30 pm

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The session on Strengthening the Bridges through Student and Faculty Engagement was moderated by Dr. Ruchi Kher Jaggi, (Director, Media and Communication, SIU) and was chaired by Prof. Bhama Venkataramani, (Dean, Academics and Administration, SIU). The session was attended by 262 participants. The first speaker – Dr. Priyankar Upadhyaya, (UNESCO Chair for Peace and Intercultural Understanding, Banaras Hindu University India) spoke about the imperatives of education for global citizenship. Referring to ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’, he said, ‘In India we have a long lineage/ tradition of global education’. It is important to believe that education is transformation in all aspect – economic, social and cultural. In the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), education is a standalone goal but it is very well connected to the other goals such as peace, gender, climate change and so on. Today despite the global connectivity there is a rise of this myopic parochialism. Indian knowledge system must find its meaning vis-a-vis other cultural attributes. Interactions with foreign students and faculty will enlighten us and broaden our mindset.

Taking the discussion forward, Dr. Rajesh Tandon (Founder- President, PRIA) was invited to speak on the ways to bring in the favour of Internationalisation of Higher Education (HE) in projects situated in the local contexts?

Dr. Tandon said that the problem with Internationalisation of HE is that it is backed with global funding  as a result of which students think that best of experiences comes from going to Europe and North America. Internationalisation of HE for students and faculty has mainly been about a ‘one- way’ visit to Europe and North America. This ‘one- way’ travel needs to be questioned. The problem of knowledge, research and career is all intermixed in Internationalisation. He emphasised that curriculum and pedagogy have to be such that we tap the diverse parts of the world and learn from them. On the one hand internationalisation has been hooked to funding opportunities and on the other hand it has been hooked to our students looking for collaboration. Internationalisation of HE has merely become about recruiting students from other countries. The dominant ideas of our times are the ideas of the dominant classes. The political economy of exchange of international students are subject to resource availability. HEIs must come forward and find resources to build a robust exchange system for students and faculty. The challenge is that we don’t have the resources to make it a sustainable robust engagement.

In the next session, Prof. Bhama invited Mr. Aniruddha Inamdar (Manipal University, India, ERASMUS+ Project), Ms. Ayesha John (Symbiosis International University, India, UK Project), Ms. Chiara Prigione, Engineering student in Natural Renewable Resources, Universidad Nacional de Cuyo in Mendoza, Fulbright) to share their experiences of being a beneficiary of Internationalisation of HE.

They said that the idea of diversity within the class and inclusion, whether by the teachers, fellow students or the administrators, was really welcoming. It enabled them to reflect on the cultural distinctiveness of their lives and realities. The interdisciplinary approach to every discipline enabled them to see things from more than one perspective – from inter-sectional to inter-twinning perspectives. It also led to an improvement in their communication abilities, getting to know other cultures and gain adaptability and problem solving skills.

 

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