Why study abroad?

Why study abroad?

INTERVIEW

Why study abroad?

Professor N S Ramaswamy has over 50 years of experience in education and management. One of the founder-directors of the Indian Institute of Management (Bangalore), he has also been director of the National Institute for Industrial Engineering (Bombay) and the Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management, and consultant to various other institutions. He was in the City to release the book, 101 Great Universities of the World (see box). Edited excerpts from an interview with DH Education.

What is the need for a book  on studying abroad, considering that there are education fairs  and websites which offer quite a lot of information?

In India, the ratio between demand for education is much higher than the capacity. So we need to work on our education system, from kindergarten to university. Students are constantly seeking credible information on how to pursue their educational aspirations. They have questions on  where to study and what to study.

What is the difference between getting a degree in India and getting one abroad?

In India, education is mostly by rote, with a great reliance on text books. There is a teacher who transfers information to students, and then tests their ability to put the same information on paper.

Our system of education is exam-based, not learning-based. On the other hand, good Western universities make you apply your mind; they challenge your analytical abilities and focus on application of knowledge and skills. The student becomes creative and grows in several dimensions. The Indian system is also very rigid and our universities are not vibrant.

Years ago, you studied abroad. What do you think of the information on foreign universities that is available to students now?

Students have many advantages now. A lot of information is readily available on various websites. But students should also have the ability to discriminate. Dynamic information is needed. In India, there are no institutions to guide students: where will they fit in, where they need to go, what is their ability, their interests and aptitude, what they can afford, etc.

What benefits does a student get from studying abroad?

Each student is unique. When you study abroad, you can swim and learn philosophy; you can study both music and physics. Education should not just provide avenues for brilliant minds,  it should also look after the interests of the average student.

101 Great Universities of the World

Want to go abroad, but don’t know which university to pick? The book, 101 Great Universities of the World,  profiles 101 universities, located in English-speaking countries, that are popular destinations among Indian students. It contains information on 29 universities from the United States of America, 27 universities from the United Kingdom, 23 from Australia, seven from Canada, seven from New Zealand, two each from France and Thailand, and one each from Ireland, Singapore, Japan and the Netherlands.

The profiles include a short introduction of the institution, followed by details of campus facilities, admission processes (with updated addresses of the admissions offices, phone numbers and e-mail IDs), sections on accommodation, student employment and the various programmes offered.

Students may find  the section on estimated annual expenses useful. This section includes an estimate of tuition fees, accommodation, health insurance, books and supplies, personal expenses and travel.

“The book is written from an Indian perspective,” says Summiya Yasmeen, the author. However, some students did feel that the book could have incorporated information collected from Indian alumni of the universities profiled. 

“The book should’ve had some information about some well-known professors in the universities profiled, and their areas of research. I’d like to apply only to the best universities in my subject of research,” said Abha Singh, who has applied to several universities abroad for a master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering. “The information presented (in the book) is mostly available online.

It would have been helpful had the book contained information on various Indian students’ associations. They are a great support system,” said Santosh Kumar, who recently completed MS from Iowa State University.

He pointed out that the book does not include notable universities such as University of Southern California, University of Texas (Austin) and University of Dallas, all of which have a very high intake of Indian students. The publishers, Education World, hope to release a new edition every year, with updated information.

SJ

Did you know?

* Full Sail University, Florida offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Game Art, Game Development, Music Business, Recording Arts and Show Production.

* At the NHTV-Breda University of Applied Sciences, Netherlands, you can get an undergraduate degree in International Game Architecture and Design, International Real Estate and Facility Management or International Traffic Management.

* Amherst College in the United States, an undergraduate college, awards an Arts degree to all its students — even those who study maths and science.

* Hawaii Pacific University has courses on East-West Classical Studies, Justice Administration, and Teaching English as Second Language.

* The Maharishi University of Management, Fairfield offers courses in Maharishi Vedic Science, and MBA in Sustainable Business.

* The Otago Polytechnic, New Zealand, offers a course in midwifery.

From cover to cover

The book, 101 Great Universities of the World, covers the following topics:

* General backgrounder on the university.

* Information on the city where it is located and weather conditions through the year.

* Campus facilities such as the buildings, library, cafeteria, associations and activities.

* Admission criteria such as the basic academic qualifications required, tests to be taken and list of official documents to be submitted.

* Accommodation options

* Degree programmes

* Bill of costs such as tuition fee, accommodation fee, books and supplies, personal expenses and exchange rate.

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