Prof Jennifer Dixon, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, University of Auckland was in India to ensure the burgeoning economic ties between India and New Zealand are reflected in engagement between leading higher education institutions in both countries. During an interaction with Careers360, she discussed the benefits of studying in New Zealand... Q. The University of Auckland is the largest university in New Zealand, could you share the number of international students there, how many are from India?A. We currently have over 8,000 international students at the University of Auckland with roughly 500 from India. Q. Australia being one of the major destinations for higher education students, what opportunities New Zealand offers which is better than Australia?A. With a safe and welcoming environment, New Zealand is ranked as the second most peaceful nation on earth (Global Peace Index) and the least corrupt (Corruption Perceptions Index). The Economist Intelligence Unit recently ranked NZ as best in the world at educating for the future. The New Zealand learning environment offers hands-on experience with a flexible and supportive education system that gives students the skills and experience they need to succeed anywhere in the world.As NZ’s flagship globally ranked university, more and more Indian students are benefiting from our world-class research, facilities and teaching approach. Auckland is one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the world which is reflected in the composition of our student body.The NZ PhD programme contains a scholarship for all Indian students in that the NZ government subsidizes all PhD students regardless of their residency. For India, this means that students can undertake a PhD at a top-100 university for less than $5kUSD per year in tuition fees. Bachelor, master and PhD graduates can apply for a 3-year Post-study work visa upon completion of their study with us.Q. New domains are emerging, new jobs are coming up, AI, ML have disrupted the whole education and job scenario around the globe. How do you look at this changing trend?A. The Economist Intelligence Unit recently ranked NZ as best in the world at educating for the future. The New Zealand learning environment offers hands-on experience with a flexible and supportive education system that gives students the skills and experience they need to succeed anywhere in the world. The University of Auckland is constantly reviewing the content and delivery of its academic programmes to ensure that approaches to teaching and learning are world-leading, up-to-date and research-informed. Our graduates enter the workplace with skills and knowledge that make them competitive in a global labour market. Q. What changes are needed in the education system across the globe to be in sync with the changing trends?A. As the speed of innovation and change accelerates, it is important to offer academic programmes that provide students with skills in critical thinking, problem-solving, creativity and innovation. It is also important to offer experiential forms of learning so that students can adapt to the multiple changes in the world of work that will happen over the course of their careers. Equally, students need to understand they will be required to upskill their knowledge and professional development constantly throughout their careers. Q. Are looking at collaborations with Indian institutions, in which all areas New Zealand and Indian institutions could work together?A. We have been working together with the other 7 universities in New Zealand through our peak body, Universities New Zealand, and with our crown agency, Education New Zealand, on a strategy to advance our engagement with Indian higher education institutions. In this vein, we are exploring the possibility of establishing a New Zealand Centre, to be embedded in a leading Indian university, in which all NZ universities may participate. This would be modelled on our decade of successful collaboration with such a center at Peking University. Q. Agriculture sector in New Zealand is the biggest sector, India traditionally has also been an agrarian economy. What India can learn from your country to improve its GDP through Agriculture and create jobs?A. Agriculture remains an important segment of the New Zealand economy as it has evolved to include technical innovations and to focus on changing demand in global markets. In order to maintain its current position, the New Zealand government removed subsidies for farmers in the 1980s and promoted a fully market-led agricultural sector. This has meant that we have been able to achieve global economic competitiveness with highly efficient forms of production. There is potential for the Indian agricultural sector to form partnerships with NZ producers. Q. What are your future plans with respect to India?A. We are very pleased during our recent trip to have signed agreements with IIT Bombay and IIT Kharagpur. We are discussing areas for potential research collaboration including collaborative delivery of PhD programmes. We have received several expressions of interest to host the New Zealand Centre and we will continue that process in 2019. Leadership from our academic faculties are already planning to return travel to India. I expect we will see heightened engagement over the next few years.
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