The topic for the sixth edition of the International Conference- SIU-AIU Annual Conference on Internationalization of Higher Education in India, was chosen with great deliberation. The topic thus chose was Interregional Collaboration for Effective Internationalisation of Higher Education. This came on the backdrop of several of my observations in regards to Internationalization of Higher Education, particularly in the context of Indian Universities.
Recently, during the pandemic we witnessed the need for regions, people, universities and organizations to come together for the betterment of mankind. Over the last several years when we were discussing interntionalisation we realized that it was not just universities and people from universities, or even people from Higher Education Institutions that need to collaborate but its high time that regions & nations from that region also collaborate so that our students and faculty are benefitted. Therefore, we decided with the theme of Inter-regional Collaboration for Effective Internationalisation of Higher Education.
When we look at dialogues between South South & South South North we wonder that there are so many things that are common among these regions, that we need to have a conversation about. I am reminded of the times when way back in 2017, when conversations about initiating an Indian Network for International Education happened. The then Education Minister suggested that we do this at the national level and now through SIU-AIU collaboration it is being brought to life.
The importance of networks lies in the fact that while universities, countries and nations make policies for Higher Education, networks in those regions determine the efficacy of those policies. For example, when I participated in NAFSA several years ago it was a small network. Since then NAFSA has not only grown within the US but also has members from all across the world. It also means that people and universities get to share the best practices of the universities of the US. Similarly, several other networks such as the African Network for Internationalisation of Education (ANIE) and European Association for International Education (EAIE) among several others have contributed immensely to collaboration within their respective regions. The networks are not only about getting colleges and university representatives in these networks together but they are all about driving the policies of these regions. The commendable work done by these networks, leads me to believe that with the initiation of the Indian Network of Internationalisation of Higher Education we will also be part of policy making in the domain of Internationalisation of Higher Education here in India.
The Indian Education System has undoubtedly witnessed a sea of change with the National Education Policy which has now reached a milestone where we witness a full transformation of the Indian Higher Education System. The Indian Network of Internationalisation of Higher Education will further contribute to this uplift of the Indian education and students, faculty and stakeholders will benefit from it.