New Delhi: Ashoka University, a Liberal Arts University in India, hosted its first International Educators Conference 2017 on March 17, 2017. In line with the University’s vision to emerge as a global institution and put India on the world education map, the focus of the conference was on India as a global higher education destination. HE Major General Vetsop Namgyel, Ambassador of Bhutan and HE Niankoro Yeah Samake, Ambassador of Mali graced the occasion as the guests of honour for the event.
Mr. Dalton Sembiring, Deputy Chief in Mission and Charge d’affaires of Indonesian Embassy also graced the occasion. The event saw participation by educators from over ten countries and diplomats from 5 embassies.
Speaking at the event, HE Major General Vetsop Namgyel, Ambassador of Bhutan, said, “Today, participants from 15 countries have come here because of our interest in India as an important education destination. Individually, all the countries want the best education for their students. We want to create high quality schools and for the universities to educate these students and make them responsible youth. If we are unable to provide this in our own countries, we would like to send them abroad to study. But the cost of an international education in schools and colleges abroad is very high. Ashoka University is promoting a high quality education at an affordable cost and I believe that such an education will make India a highly desirable destination for education.” H.E. Niankoro Yeah Samake, Ambassador of Mali also spoke about the rising collaboration between India and Africa in the education sector and a growing interest in African students to study in India. Mr. Dalton Sembiring of Indonesia spoke about the shared cultural history between Indonesia and India which makes for a natural bond between the two nations.
Until recently, India had been recognized as a hub for international universities with several Indian students going abroad for higher education. However, over the past few years there has been an impressive growth in the number of international students coming to India for higher studies as well. As per latest industry figures, from a measly 6,988 in 2000, the number of international students in India has grown to a healthy 33,156 students in 2014.
Vineet Gupta, Founder & Pro-Vice Chancellor, Ashoka University said, “Over the past decade, India has cemented a unique place in the world and has become the nerve-center of indigenous innovation. With a fast growing economy, exciting career opportunities and attractive study options, India is emerging as a preferred higher education destination at a global level. We are confident that the conference will go a long way in encouraging more international students to choose India for higher studies.”
Aspiring to bring positive change to the higher education sector in India, Ashoka University has attracted students from international markets from the very beginning. The University at present hosts students from over fifteen countries across three batches of the undergraduate programme. These students have come from places near and far such as Nepal, Dhaka and Dubai to Ethiopia, Nigeria and California.
Pramath Raj Sinha, Founder & Trustee, Ashoka University spoke on the genesis of Ashoka. He said, “Universities across the world are driven by a desire to be and produce the best in the world. They want to produce toppers who get the best salaries and so on. However, the world and India today needs a very different kind of graduate. Graduates who feel confident in the fact that they can be the best in what they can be and are good citizens who influence the lives of others in a positive way. Therefore, we want the Ashoka graduate to not just be the best ‘in the world’ but also be the best ‘for the world’ and in being the best for the world they will indeed be the best in the world. We aspire to have best students for the world and not just best in India.”
The conference saw knowledge sharing by country representatives on Opportunities and challenges in promoting India as an education destination followed by stimulating sessions such as Shakespeare in Bollywood by Jonathan Gil Harris, Dean of Academic Affairs and Professor of English at Ashoka University.