A much-debated suggestion in the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 that allowed foreign universities to set up campuses in India would soon be a reality. Australia’s top-ranked higher educational institute, the University of Melbourne (UoM), will be setting up a micro-campus in India as early as next year.
The set-up will be smaller than a full-fledged campus and would serve multiple functions, including offering professional education, conferences, and courses in hybrid modes.
In an exclusive interaction with News18.com, Professor Michael Wesley, Deputy Vice-Chancellor International, University of Melbourne, said: “We are looking at a permanent presence of University of Melbourne in India. It would be in the shape of a micro-campus in India and will offer joint degrees in partnership with good quality Indian universities and research institutes wherein a student could spend some part of their course in India and the remaining in Australia.”
The UoM has narrowed down the location of the micro-campus to Delhi, Mumbai or Bangalore. The programme will offer graduate-level courses, micro-credential courses, and professional certificates across a wide range. Some of the disciplines that the UoM is considering offering are applied data analytics, information technologies and public health.
These courses will be offered in flexible mode. Some parts of the courses, particularly the theoretical aspects, could be taught online. A significant portion, of course, will be taught in-person. While academics from Melbourne will fly down to India, the university is also considering roping in teachers and professors from top Indian institutes.
“Indian student population is diverse. With the micro-campus, we are aiming to reach the diverse student population which is beyond the groups of students who are already enrolled in our on-campus degrees. We are looking at offering flexible ways to provide world-class education as well as life-changing experience to diverse student population in India,” said Wesley.
He added that Indians are the second largest migration group in Australia after the British and Indians are expected to overtake the latter in four-to-five years.
“Indian migrants are welcome because they speak good English, they have advanced skills and take part in Australian life and culture from day one and become valued,” he said, adding that Australia is looking to double the post-study work rights for students, which will help retain talent and offer easy permanent residency pathway to international students. Currently, Indian students get two years’ post-study work rights in Australia.
Australia already has a teacher training collaboration with the Savitribai Phule Pune University, wherein the two institutions offer a blended teaching degree from early childhood education.
Suggesting Indian universities to increase the employability of their graduates, the professor said: “Indian universities can look at offering work-integrated subjects wherein students are placed in industry as part of the curriculum.”