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Q: What do you think are the benefits of establishing International Relations?
A: Two benefits come to my mind when I think about that question. First, a superficial one, which is that when more international students and faculty come to the campus it boosts the so called, “Institute Rankings”. Second, a deeper reason which affects students more closely is that by having an experience of a different country and culture, you benefit a lot on a personal level. This may reflect as a change in your personality and the way in which you approach things. You may, for example, not feel that bad about a low CPI. My own experience of studying in Boston for 10 years put me in circles where my fellow colleagues did their research with a certain attitude of “maybe it will fail, but I will learn from it”. This was rather different from my experiences back home. I truly believe that, “by engaging with the world, one ends up broadening one’s own perspectives and horizons” and this is, certainly, one of the deeper and key benefits of establishing international relations.
Q: Since you mention Institute Rankings, what are your views on QS rankings?
A: In contrast to what might be the case for various other universities globally, QS Rankings do not necessarily impact the admission rates into the IITs. We are sure to have the same large numbers of applicants who write the JEE every year, despite the fluctuating QS rankings. Yet on the global stage, the QS ranking do hold significance as a sort of a report card for IITB.
Still, more importantly, the data that the QS rankings reveal hold more value than the mere position IITB holds in the list. Through that data, they tell us how we stand on certain vital parameters. And I find that much more interesting than just the ranks. They help indicate the areas where the Institute can direct efforts in and better itself.
Q: The IIT Bombay Strategic plan 2022 mentions about increasing the number of international students by 10%. How do you plan to achieve it?
A: The Vision 2022 document mentions various strategies to attract more international students. I believe that one of the most effective ways is by listening to what the current international students have to say regarding IITB. This feedback mechanism makes the IR office more aware about the issues international students face and the aspects they appreciate about IITB as well. Then we can take action to improve the experience here on campus.
There are several government initiatives to increase the number of international students on campus and the IR office is actively participating in them. For example, there is a new “Study in India” online portal for applications; there are opportunities to showcase IITB at international student fairs, etc. We are also exploring how to make certain CEP courses available for international students/professionals.
Q: How do you plan to improve the IRO’s media outreach?
A: Recently the PRO had suggested we start a Facebook page, which we plan to do soon. It will be a place for informal stuff where the institute secretary can put up videos, photos and other fun things. We are also in the process of redoing the IR webpage and plan to include testimonials from our international students.
Q: What are your thoughts on the CPI cutoff for semester exchange?
A: Devang, the Institute Secretary of International Relations, had given a proposal to remove the CPI cutoff for semester exchange programs. This is in the final stage of approval. This proposal made sense to me as CPI should not be a way to decide whether a student can travel for semester exchange. If the institute secretary comes with a valid suggestions where more students could go for international exchanges then I am very happy to take them forward.
Q: While thinking of semester exchange lot of students have difficulties with financial support. How can we solve this issue?
A: It is really hard for an institute of 10,000 students to finance everyone who wants to go abroad. While signing an MOU, there is a reciprocal arrangement in terms of finance. There are a lot of our students going out and very few coming in, so the reciprocity becomes very hard to attain. I am very open to suggestions and should anyone come up with a creative solution to this, then I would be happy to push it. Perhaps, the alumni network could be tapped for this.
Q: Few students are having trouble applying for semester exchange due to semester timing clashes. How are you planning to addressme.co.nz/ball-dresses.html”>dressme.co.nz/ball-dressme.co.nz/ball-dresses.html”>dresses.html”>dressme.co.nz/ball-dresses.html”>dress this issue?
A: Here Dean AP would be the right person to answer this question, as this has to do with academics. We have two very nice programs from Japan and even though, we tried our best to match the timings but their semesters were completely off. We try to create collaborations with universities where we have similar timings but unfortunately, there are a few that do not match.
Q: Recently IIT B had its flagship PhD. program in partnership with Monash University. What are your views on it?
A: I was the Professor in Charge of this programme for 4 years. The IITB-Monash partnership is one of the success stories for international collaboration. It is a really unique initiative that gives students a degree with 2 seals. This is something no other university in the world offers. Additionally, through this programme students of IITB can gain access to research facilities that they don’t have in IITB like the Australian Synchrotron.