On a global education overdrive

Fiona Docherty of UNSW.

The University of New South Wales recently hosted India Open Days in four metros where prospective students and parents had direct access to teaching staff, admission and visa processes; post-degree internship and recruitment opportunities.

In Delhi for the Open Day, Fiona Docherty, vice president, external affairs, UNSW, Sydney, talks about what is in store for Indian students at UNSW.

Are you working with any universities in India?

We have a partnership with the Manipal University for exchange programmes and develop new degrees. We have models where students can conclude part of their programme in UNSW and the rest in India. Similarly, our students at UNSW come and spend time at Manipal University.

We are also cultivating a lot of new relationships with more institutions like the Narsee Monjee Institute, Jindal Global University, to name a few. Students from IIT, Ropar are doing a project currently at the UNSW and students from there will visit IIT Ropar later. It’s a two-way flow and it’s an important plan for the future.

How attractive is UNSW for Indian students?

Australia has been fortunate to have several world-class universities that rank in the top 50 globally. More and more Indians are realising that they get world-class education in Australia as compared to elite universities in the US and UK which is tougher to get.

We are a 70-year-old university. When I joined UNSW some five years back we had 300 Indian students and now we have 1200. For Indian students, we offer a great return on their investment. Most students are now opting for Australia over the UK.

Are Australian students also interested in India?

Students are global in their outlook. Just as there is demand for Indian students to study in Australia there is an equal interest in Australian students to come to India for studies. The most popular course they like to pursue is related to business and finance especially from financial hubs like Mumbai.

They want to understand how India’s economy works. India is an important trading partner for Australia. So the business students are really interested to be in Mumbai. The engineering students are interested in the reputation of IITs and each one comes looking at quality institutions where they can do some short period of study.

Which are your popular courses for Indians?

Traditionally we had more post-graduate students but now we see undergraduate students as well. We have seen a strong interest in business and engineering. Most of our undergraduate students choose subjects from a wide range of faculties. We have students studying design with communication, engineering with business and so on.

What kinds of scholarships are available for Indians?

We have our ‘Future of Change’ scholarships just for our Indian students. It involves tuition fee waiver, the value of AUS$10,000 per annum, for the minimum duration of the programme. There is also a full tuition fee waiver scholarship, for the minimum duration of the programme. One of the key criteria is a digital video testimonial of how a scholarship at UNSW will help them achieve their aspirations.

What are the lessons that UNSW can learn from India?

Our research communities can collaborate with issues that are important to both countries. I have seen our researchers come together to find sustainable ways of harvesting crops, climate change, etc. These are issues which affect both countries. We have to come together to find new solutions.3