Ruth Butaumocho in NEW DELHI, India

The 12th International Higher Education Summit opened here on Thursday with participants calling for the implementation of start-up policies in tertiary institutions to encourage entrepreneurship among graduates.Officially opening the summit being attended by over 2 000 delegates from 50 countries including Zimbabwe, the Chief Minister for Andhra Pradesh province, Mr Chandrababu Naidu, called for industry and academia collaborations to come up with work modalities that can be used to implement and sustain start- up policies.

“Our education system requires certain reforms, both in terms of spirit and practicality of the knowledge imparted. It is evident that focusing on upgrading the quality of education imparted and supporting infrastructure is of utmost importance for higher education and developing our human resources, particularly the youth dividend, who can assist towards employment creation,” he said.

Now running in its 12th year, the higher education summit brings together university personnel, the business community, government officials and diplomats from different foreign missions across the globe to deliberate on the role tertiary institutions can play in strengthening collaborations between learning institutions and industry.

During the summit, which ends today, participants will deliberate on policies that focus on developing ecosystems for strategic partnerships in the education sector in India and other countries.

The summit also provides a forum for international education providers interested in partnering and engaging Indian higher education institutions on a number of areas, among them exchange programmes for both students and teaching staff.

Great Zimbabwe University (GZU) Vice Chancellor Professor Rungano Zvobgo, who is part of the Zimbabwean delegation attending the summit, said the conference would afford them an opportunity to learn some of the best practices in higher education from diverse learning institutions.

Prof Zvogbo said despite geographical locations and varying institutional ideologies, higher education institutions were seized with same challenges.

“The trajectory is the same across. We are now advocating the internalisation of the higher education system that makes curricula more global across disciplines than the current situation.

“Such a situation will ensure that students across diverse and varying situations and geographical locations can share commonalities and are absorbed in any institution should they migrate,” said Prof Zvobgo.

He added that he would use the platform to scout for partners to collaborate with GZU in a number of areas.

“We want to engage universities that offer the same programmes as ours so that we can establish synergies in a number of ares such as exchange programmes and curriculum structures. We also want to learn from them how they have managed to create linkages with industry.

“India is one of the best practices that has successfully linked tertiary institutions with industry. It has has managed to create a vibrant film industry in the form of Bollywood, creating employment for students who are studying in the country’s arts institutions,” he said.

India has the largest higher education system in the world in terms of the number of institutions, and the second largest in terms of higher education students enrolled at its universities and colleges.

More than 20 million higher education students are studying in India’s 677 universities and nearly 40 000 colleges.

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