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Indian universities keen for indigenous education lessons

Vice-chancellors from five prominent Indian universities were welcomed to the Massey University Manawatu campus. The visit is part of a New Zealand tour in which the delegation is visiting universities across the country to learn more about the New Zealand tertiary education system.

The vice-chancellors – Professor Dinesh Singh of the University of Delhi, Dr Rajan Welukar of the University of Mumbai, Professor Ramakrishna Ramaswamy of the University of Hyderabad and Professor Surabhi Banerjee of the Central University of Orissa – were led by Professor AN Rai of North Eastern Hill University.

The five universities have more than one million students in total.

After a campus tour, introduction and presentation about Massey University they met Vice-Chancellor Steve Maharey and other senior staff. Key objectives of the meeting were to establish vice-chancellor level relationships and explore New Zealand’s approach to indigenous/Mäori-centred education.

Mr Maharey described the meeting as very positive and offering considerable opportunity for Massey to support and contribute to tertiary education in India. “The headline of the day was that India is anticipating huge numbers – some 200 million – coming into the tertiary education system in the near future and they have to have the capacity to provide education for them. We [Massey] want to be one of the providers. Massey has lots of areas of expertise – from teacher education through to issues of food production – and this is a huge opportunity for us to provide that sort of expertise”.

In terms of indigenous and Maori education, Massey’s experience offers a wealth of knowledge, Mr Maharey says. “We have something to offer. We have 20, 30 years of experience to offer in terms of bringing people who have traditionally not entered the tertiary education system into the system. ”

Professor Rai was equally positive. “The indigenous people in India have been deprived of education. We have similar problems and so we are looking at how to develop that and transfer what we see in New Zealand into the Indian tertiary education system.”

The delegates are looking forward to developing on-going partnerships with Massey University.  “With New Zealand, we are looking at exchanges of teachers, of students, of researchers and looking at much more interaction between tertiary level education,” Professor Rai said. “There are hundreds of millions of people in India coming into the system and there are lots of opportunities in New Zealand for Indian students.”

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