University of Sydney to focus on tailored learning opportunities for Indian students

University of Sydney to focus on tailored learning opportunities for Indian students


Research partnerships, joint degree programmes and short duration programmes for mid-career professionals to remain the key focus

Research partnerships, joint degree programmes and short duration programmes for mid-career professionals to remain the key focus

University of Sydney Vice-Chancellor and president Mark Scott said on Friday that the university would focus on offering tailored and targeted learning opportunities to Indian students, keeping in mind their job requirements.

In an interview to The Hindu during his week-long visit to India to attend the Australia India Leadership Dialogue, he said Indian students wanted great value for the money and time they invested and saw a clear pathway from the study they were doing to work opportunities. To cater to this need, the university would offer deeper embedding with the industry as part of the programme, particularly for business and engineering students.

He highlighted that Tech Central, an innovation hub being developed near the University of Sydney campus, on the lines of the Silicon Valley in the U.S., would offer greater opportunities to students to work closely with the industry.

Though the COVID-19 pandemic posed enormous challenges, effective strategies adopted by the university helped in engaging international students better and ensuring that their learning was not affected. The enrolment of international students, particularly those from India, has seen an increase after the pandemic, according to him.

Acknowledging the need for education in Australia to be affordable for more Indian students, he said the University of Sydney did not envisage a significant real price increase in international student fees. “That is not part of our funding strategy at all. In fact, we are looking to be more generous with fellowship offers,” he said.

There were talks from the Indian side on the possibility of Australian universities opening campuses in India during last month’s visit of Union Minister for Education Dharmendra Pradhan. However, the experience of Australian universities with offshore campuses had been mixed, he said.

Indicating that opening campuses in India was unlikely at the moment, he, however, said there was greater focus on deeper partnerships with Indian institutions. For instance, he highlighted a joint degree programme planned by the University of Sydney and O.P. Jindal Global University.

Pointing out that Indian students would study two years here and two years in Sydney, he said two years is an important time frame in Australia as it will enable the students to get visa for work right opportunities.

Professor Scott said he saw short programmes that helped mid-career professionals as a big growing market in higher education. He envisaged greater opportunities in offering such programmes with Indian institutions.

One of the concerns he often heard during his visit was about the employability of the graduates. “It is not as though there is a shortage in graduates. But they do not have the capabilities the industry want,” he said. To address this gap, there was potential for collaboration with companies that have a greater presence both in India and Australia to offer a deep and embedded work experience for students.

Stressing the need for a multidisciplinary approach to solving the biggest challenges of our times, he said the University of Sydney was importantly looking for research partnerships with Indian institutions.

It entered a research partnership with IIT Madras to address energy challenges. “They will collaborate on energy storage and conversion, solar desalination and cold storage, photo and electrochemical energy, gas turbines, micro-grids and renewable energy systems,” a statement by IIT Madras said.

V. Kamakoti, Director, IIT Madras, and Professor Scott signed a memorandum of understanding on Friday in this regard.

“The best way to solve problems that affect the whole world is to bring together the brightest minds across nations. We are delighted to be working with IIT Madras to tackle the urgent energy issues facing both Australia and India,” Professor Scott said.