There has been a strong drift of Indian students towards foreign lands to pursue higher education. The trend has been strengthening over the past decades.
An IIM Bangalore study records the growth percentage of this extreme spike to be 256%. About 85% of international Indian students opt for five destinations: the UK and USA followed by Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Germany and China are fast emerging as favored countries for aspirants of higher education in Indian students.
Reports by leading Indian newspapers estimate 5,600 student visas being issued to Indian students in the narrow time frame of Oct 2012 to Feb 2013. This marks a 50% growth over the last year statistics. There was a 12% growth in 2014, which is 2015 touched higher levels of 17.8%. These rates have outmatched the Chinese growth of 14%. When seen in the terms of numbers China betters India at 700,000 international students as against India’s 360,000.
There are a number of reasons which is depriving the country of its bright students. However, a prominent reason is the popularity of the interdisciplinary education that is the backbone of Western education. As a result of this educational system, the West has emerged as the world leader in knowledge creation.
Foreign universities offer great flexibility in content and learning delivery. Consequently, a student can choose from a number of courses to suit individual aptitude, orientations, and goals and can even choose the subjects that he or she wants to study. The curricula are up-to-date with a direct hands-on-work approach. The learning system thrives on pedagogy which exploits unconventional teaching methods. This is further augmented by modern infrastructure facilitating the graduate readiness for industry or research work.
Contrast this with the learning regimen practiced in India.
The Indian learning systems are mired in age-old curricula. The pedagogy is either missing or ill-developed. There is an excessive focus on rote learning. Practical hands-on learning is absent with overburdening emphasis on theoretical learning. This leads to ‘skill gap’ seriously undermining the employability of graduates.
Compound the quality education foreign universities offer with the extensive opportunity they provide for employment and personal development. Students can also avail of a high standard of living and multicultural perspective.
Indian Universities now waking up to the challenge and introducing Interdisciplinary Learning.
The great advantages offered by the foreign universities rely on the fact that they use an entirely different paradigm of interdisciplinary learning. Moreover, the learners should be allowed to choose for themselves the learning tools and strategies that suit their tastes and orientation. Such learning develops lateral thinking and critical skills instead of linear thinking.
A number of Indian institutions have tailored their courses to suit the new trends. The prestigious Indira Gandhi Open University and Delhi University now offer a number of courses based on this new regime. Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT), Azim Premji University, Ashoka University and Shiv Nadar University are some of the prominent private players. Another new university that wants to focus on Interdisciplinary education is Quantum University.
The institution that has reinvented itself in tune with this new philosophy is Quantum University. Already an established name in dispensing education in engineering and management domain the university now has an array of programs that promote interdisciplinary learning.
The university offers Major and Minor courses in an array of disciplines that range from engineering to humanities. A major degree indicates the specialization while a minor degree shows a field related to the specialization or a completely unrelated field. As such a student can major as an electrical engineer and at the same time choose a minor in economics. The same student can opt for a minor in computer programming. These entire learning dynamics is mediated by the Flexible Credit System. The goal of all the programs is on ‘result-oriented learning.’ As such students will be sculpted to tackle core industry tasks or delve deeper into their subject with a research agenda.
Quantum has gone a step further to popularize multidisciplinary approach. Special programs called passion programs or PROPS have been developed to let people hone their innate talents or dormant passions. Such passions could include a liking for dance or a knack for photography.
Multidisciplinary learning prepares individuals not just to follow a career but to face the rigors of life with a full growth of their personality.