Source: Press Trust of India via Indian Economic Business News
Canada-based International Development Research Centre has chosen India for its research in agriculture and allied areas as the quality of research and science in the country is very high, a top official of the agency said. “The quality of research and science in India is very high and that is why IDRC has chosen the country for its research in agriculture, water and climate change, besides waste management,” IDRC President David M Malone said. IDRC is spending nearly USD 260 million on various countries for research in agriculture and health sector, he said, adding India is being given USD 30 million for research projects, mainly in the agriculture sector, through Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU). On the ongoing projects in TNAU, Malone said IDRC is funding two projects: one on ‘enhancing preservation of fruits in South India, under Canadian International Food Security Research Funds programme, which involves University of Guelph, Canada, TNAU and International Technology Institute, Sri Lanka and an NGO, MYRADA, with an outlay of Rs 4.99 crore. Another Rs 1.47 crore project is on ‘revalorising small millets: enhancing the food and nutritional security of women and children in rain-fed regions of South Asia using underutilised species, he said.
Source: Office of Minister of International Trade via Indian Economic Business News
On February 6th, The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway announced the conclusion of the seventh round of negotiations toward a Canada-India comprehensive economic partnership agreement. “Our government is committed to building on our already-strong ties with India to create a partnership that will lead to jobs, growth and long-term prosperity for workers in both our countries,” said Minister Fast. “More than a million Canadians of Indian origin is clear proof of how both business and people-to-people ties are helping us deepen the Canada-India relationship.” Negotiations this week were productive and focused mostly on market access and related areas. A Canada-India joint study concluded that a trade agreement between the two countries could boost Canada’s economy by at least $6 billion. That translates to almost 40,000 new jobs across the country, or a $500 boost to the average Canadian family’s annual income. Canada has identified core economic opportunities in India in the energy, agriculture, infrastructure and education sectors.
CIEC presents two new member benefits for our academic & corporate members:
- Activity or event postings in the newly-launched newsletter ‘Disha,’ reaching 19 000 key education stakeholders, more information below;
- Academic Members can partake in our ‘Virtual Campus Tours‘ (exclusive to members) by submitting 5 – 10 images of their academic institution, more information below.
Activity & Event Posting in ‘Disha’
CIEC invites academic, agent and corporate members to submit up to three activities or events per month (recruiting trips/travelling delegates, new programs/start dates, job postings) for free as an exclusive membership benefit. Contributions will be posted in the much-lauded, monthly ‘Disha’ (Direction) e-newsletter reaching the CIEC database of 19 000 education stakeholders. CIEC now also promotes member and non-member events free-of-charge on the CIEC website, the live ‘Disha’ blog, and the ‘Disha’ newsletter. Interested institutions are asked to send a logo, introductory paragraph and website link to include in the ‘Partner Events’ section of ‘Disha.’ Please send your postings to [email protected].
‘Virtual Campus Tours’
CIEC has also launched ‘Virtual Campus Tours,’ and invites academic members to send 5 – 10 images of their institutions with short captions (may include links to more information). ‘Virtual Tours’ will be linked to from the members profile as well as the newly-unveiled ‘Student’ section of the CIEC website. Suggested photos include:
- shots of major campus buildings
- highlights of any special features of the college such as state of the art research facilities or cultural landmarks
- stills of city life and surrounding area as well as social clubs, student groups, international student accommodation, and activities on campus
Interested institutions can send their photos and corresponding captions (if applicable) to [email protected] with ‘Virtual Tours’ in the subject line.
By Goldy Hyder
Canadian business and political leaders are at last waking up to the importance of India. But they need to be aware that Indian attitudes toward Canada are changing too.
The Harper government has committed itself to an important goal: to complete negotiations on a free trade agreement with India by the end of 2013. Given the scope and complexity of the proposed agreement, which could include provisions related to federal and subfederal procurements, it is an ambitious and aggressive undertaking — yet it is absolutely vital to Canada’s continued economic prosperity. By the government’s own estimates, a comprehensive economic partnership agreement with India has the potential to triple bilateral trade from $5 billion to $15 billion as soon as 2015. If the full potential of the agreement is achieved, some observers contend, Canada’s GDP could in-crease by $6 billion, creating as many as 40,000 new jobs. At a minimum, a trade deal would provide Canadian business-es with a massive competitive advantage: preferential access to more than 1.2 billion consumers.
Curiously, despite ample evidence and intertwined national histories, Canadians have been among the last to fully acknowledge and join the West in a renewed interest in India. Western interest in India had lapsed after centuries of cultivating trading ties with the Indian subcontinent (after all, European settlement of North America was an unexpected outcome of Christopher Columbus’ expedition to find a better route to Asia). Canada’s bilateral relationship with India has languished due to a number of factors, including what some might describe as benign neglect.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper does not appear to need convincing that this trend must be reversed. In his recent speech to the World Economic Forum in New Delhi, the Prime Minister correctly noted that India is “a place where globally important decisions are increasingly being made.” But Canadian awareness of the shifting economic opportunities must also be matched with an evolution in attitudes toward India.
Fairly or unfairly, many in India still perceive Canada’s attitude as having colonial undertones, that there is an implied sense that “we are here to help.” Although India clearly has issues with income inequality and poverty, the perception of paternalism undermines our ability to foster stronger ties with Indian business.
Canada and India both have long legacies as nations of traders. But because so much of Canada’s trade has been with Europe and the United States, we have not developed the adaptability in our business culture that will be necessary for us to excel in the new markets that are so crucial to future growth. Despite being a diverse and tolerant multi-cultural society at home, we are often rigid and inflexible when it comes to our business dealings abroad.
I have often heard international clients and business contacts praise individual Canadian business people for being far more respectful of cultural differences than their American and European counterparts. And yet there is an overall sense among Indian businesses that Canadian companies try too hard to impose their own way of doing business when abroad. It is absolutely crucial that we bridge this gap without, of course, compromising core Canadian values.
Equally damaging is the perception that all levels of Canadian government and many companies lack the essential commitment to the long haul when it comes to building business relationships in India. There is a troubling view that we are there for the weekend or, worse, that we only visit India when we are “in the neighbourhood” having real negotiations with the Chinese. (Just think how we feel when international visitors tack on a token visit to Canada after travel-ling to the United States.)
I cannot stress enough how much India’s attitudes toward Canada and the West have changed in recent years. Indians are properly taking immense pride in the explosion of new opportunities in their country, and they are understandably demanding that they be treated as the peers and equals they clearly are. A failure to recognize and respect these changes will jeopardize our ability to seize the opportunities.
I have had an inside perspective on the evolution of Canada’s relationship with India. My family and I frequently travel back to India, and for many years we were often asked by friends and family about opportunities in Canada. During recent visits, however, those inquiries have been replaced by questions about when we will be moving back to India. The old adage “go West, young man” has been replaced with a steady chorus of “go East.”
There are encouraging signs that Canadian governments and business leaders are addressing our perceived shortcomings. Since 2006, there have been 24 visits by Canadian cabinet ministers to India, and the Prime Minister visited in 2009 and 2012. Moreover, we now have a High Com-missioner to India, Stewart Beck, who comes from the international trade side of the Department of Foreign Affairs, suggesting there is more of a focus on the business side of the relationship. Over 500 Canadian companies now have sustained operations and investments in India, and several hundred more are developing plans to do so. The Canada-India CEO Forum, led by Hari Bhartia and Tom Jenkins, has been established as a vehicle to promote and establish in-creased trade and investment ties between our two countries.
These steps reflect the type of dedicated, focused and sustained effort that Canada needs to undertake if it is serious about building stronger ties with India. But there is still more we can and must do if we are to succeed. We are only one of many suitors seeking to woo (and wow) Indians. And given the relative size of our population and economy, we are one of the smaller suitors seeking to rekindle a relationship.
The 2011 Indian census reveals there are 46 cities in India that have populations greater than 1 million people, not including urban agglomerations or “greater areas.” Canada has 3 cities of this size. More than 1 million Canadians of Indian origin live in Canada — effectively 3 percent of our population. By contrast, Canada’s total population is less than 3 percent of India’s.
Canada is therefore in fierce competition for India’s attention with much larger countries, including most of the major European economies as well as the United States. Overcoming that size disadvantage requires finding ways to emphasize other strengths. Australia, a country of a size comparable to Canada, has a strategic advantage due to its geographic proximity to Asia. Canada has advantages too, but to date we have not been able to effectively leverage them. One group that could lead the way is Canadians of Indian origin, who have not linked back effectively to the community in India. It is a strategic advantage that Canada must leverage better.
It is often said that where you stand on a given issue will depend on where you sit — so it is perhaps not surprising that I, the president of a large public relations consultancy, see the problem in the context of brand management. As odd as it might sound, in India Canada’s “brand” is not one of the most recognized. Conceptually, therefore, we need to base our efforts in the Indian — and wider Asian — markets on a strategy to enhance and improve “Brand Canada.”
As with any branding exercise, the key to a successful campaign is identifying and isolating your core strengths and communicating them effectively to your target audience. It is not so much an exercise in conveying how we see ourselves and want the world to see us, as it is one of highlighting those aspects of our country that are most attractive to those we want to attract. To that end, we need to better understand our target audience.
A 2012 Ipsos Reid report on the effectiveness of efforts to increase the number of international students attending Canadian colleges and universities found that Canada was not a “top-of-mind destination” for prospective students in India or China. The report stated, in part, that Canada’s work in this area was insufficiently detailed when it came to highlighting Canada’s advantages relative to those of the United States and the United Kingdom.
The report recommended that future marketing and advertising campaigns should more clearly articulate factors such as the quality of our educational institutions, our liberal immigration policies, our strong and distinct culture, as well as Canada’s record of innovation and research. More specifically, it recommended the development of a “clear national brand” — something that both the United States and the United Kingdom already have and exploit.
Given the undisputable links between higher education and economic growth, the broader lesson here is that promoting Canada’s cultural distinctiveness is crucial to strengthening our global brand. Foreign Minister John Baird has spoken passionately and persuasively about the need to promote Canadian values of freedom, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law as part of our efforts to promote Canada’s economic interests.
In contrast to some of the other large and emerging economies in Asia, India shares Canada’s strong commitment to all four of these core values. We also share similar banking and legal regimes, as well as other legacies of the former British Empire. We have a vested economic interest in highlighting the elements we share with India as well as what differentiates us from the other Western countries vying for its attention.
Prime Minister Harper has compared the Canada-India trade reationship to the plot of a Bollywood movie, in which the hero competes for the beautiful heroine in a crowded field of suitors. It is clear who the love interest is in the relationship. The question is whether Canada can present itself as being attractive enough to win the girl, in a world full of suitors.
By Adrien Mutton
India, the second largest source market poses immense challenges to institutions wanting to recruit the best and brightest from this market. Numbers are never an issue, however if you are an institution wanting to be a quality recruiter, it will be a long and tough battle.
Unlike most other countries where students don’t link their education to a job as an end result, Indian students are extremely value and return on investment oriented. They are also migration focused and this is across the entire spectrum of student population leaving Indian shores. So if the students perceive that the destination is not offering a quantifiable end result in the form of potential salary they can earn, they will not consider the country while assessing their study abroad options.
With International offices coming under immense pressure to recruit more students from India, quality more often than not is the first one to be sacrificed. And in the long run this results in creating damage for the brand reputation. Institutions need to have a nuanced understanding of the heterogeneity of India, of the various state and central government boards of examinations alongside the standing of central, state and private universities. For example there are state board examinations where the marking of answer sheets is extremely stringent and on the other end of the spectrum you would have state boards that are very generous in awarding marks to students. The same goes for university examinations as well. So a 55% student from these contrasting boards would have to be judged very differently. These are some of the complexities that are brought on by the heterogeneity in the market in terms of systems, preferences, attitude towards expenditure on education etc.
With a gross enrolment ratio of approximately 12%, India has added 20,000 colleges in a decade with the number of degree granting universities doubling as well in the same period. There has been an explosion in the number of private universities. The number of private universities has grown from 10 in 2006 to 145 in 2012. There is a huge issue of quality here. Substandard private universities are common. A survey conducted by PurpleLeap, a joint venture between Pearson and Educomp Solutions, says only 12 per cent of the surveyed undergraduate engineering students were employment ready. While 52 per cent of the students were trainable, 36 per cent were untrainable. The survey was conducted among 34,000 final-year students with more than 60 per cent marks across 198 engineering colleges in 13 states. I have raised the issue of private universities and engineering college here as they churn out a large number of graduates with below par qualifications. This should bring home the huge number of students who are seeking higher education in India.
As recruiters, institutions make a choice about the kind of students they want to attract. Some institutions use channels like agency networks or decide to recruit directly from the market. The agency model obviously is not as applicable to American institutions, majority of whom are recipients of Indian students, without making an effort to be active seekers of students from here, however this pattern is also slowly changing owing to the economic pressures of running institutions which are these days operated like any business unit. If an institution uses agencies, there also needs to be active engagement with agents with the institution setting the agenda for the kind of students you want to attract and being accepting of the reality of training and retraining of agents on your product offering.
Source: ICEF Monitor
As Canada rises up the ranks of leading destination countries for international students, its federal government is planning some important changes to the Canadian student visa system, with the goals of establishing improved protection for students, greater accountability in the visa system, and prevention of fraud.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has just announced that in January 2014, the following changes will take effect for student visas (also known within Canada as “Study Permits”):
- All Study Permit holders will be required to be enrolled and actively pursuing a course or programme of study at a designated education institution after arrival in Canada, in order to maintain legal status;
- Provincial/territorial governments will designate institutions that are eligible to receive international students, and only students admitted to those institutions will be able to secure a Study Permit;
- Designated institutions will have to report to provinces/territories and CIC on international student enrolment and good standing status;
- Only those students attending designated education institutions will be granted access to Work Permit programmes;
- Work Permit programmes will also only be accessible by full-time students who are enrolled in and actively pursuing an academic, professional or vocational programme leading to a degree, diploma, or certificate;
- Full-time international students with valid Study Permits will be allowed to work off-campus for a maximum of 20 hours per week without a Work Permit (that is, Off-Campus Work Permits would no longer be required for such students).
Those institutions that do wish to be designated as eligible to host international students will have to minimally comply with a set of common standards:
- Be recognised by the provincial/territorial government as being in good standing;
- Have adopted policies and put procedures in place that protect international students including a transparent tuition-fee refund policy made available to all incoming students;
- Have clear and well-communicated policies re: language proficiency and credential assessment and recognition for international students;
- Have sufficient administrative capacity to provide services that meet the unique needs of international students;
- Undertake promotional activities authorised by the province/territory and in line with the Education Canada brand;
- Publish a policy that outlines what it takes to be a student in good standing (and this must be consistent with provincial/territorial requirements);
- Maintain enrolment-reporting requirements and have a designated individual responsible for confirming the initial enrolment of a student with a Study Permit and reporting on the ongoing enrolment status of all international students with Study Permits at the institution.
Who is eligible?
There are a number of questions arising from the proposed CIC changes but a key one is which institutions will be designated as eligible to receive international students.
If provinces are designating eligible institutions, it seems likely that most will emphasise institutions that are directly under their jurisdiction — that is, those that are regulated in one way or another by provincial or territorial governments in Canada.
This tendency is reflected in the official CIC release that anticipates eligibility for the following categories of institution:
- Public post-secondary learning institutions recognised by the province (as well as private post-secondary learning institutions in Quebec that operate under the same rules as public ones there);
- Private post-secondary learning institutions recognised by the province but only when students are enrolled in a study programme that leads to a degree as authorised by the province;
- Learning institutions within a public school board or district that are funded by and accountable to the province;
- Independent or private learning institutions that deliver provincial curricula.
Canadian language institutes, which are not commonly regulated at the provincial level, do not appear on this list. This raises the question of how such programmes would be recognised under the new regulations and what the implications may be for students engaged in longer-term studies, or any language programme requiring a Work Permit, in 2014.
Gonzalo Peralta is the executive director of Languages Canada, the Canadian accrediting association for language institutes. In a recent discussion with ICEF Monitor, he noted:
“If all the stakeholders work together — governments, institutions, associations — we should see an outstanding environment for international students in Canada.
At the same time, we don’t want this new policy to have a negative impact on our sector. Language education is not recognised in the proposed regulations — the provinces have been asked to designate eligible institutions but they do not regulate language instruction — and our top priority is to have this recognition established before the regulations are implemented in January 2014.”
To that end, we have established cooperative agreements between Languages Canada and the federal government and also with provincial governments across the country. We are also participating fully in CIC’s consultative process for the new regulations.”
Consultation before implementation
CIC is now entering into a consultation process with all stakeholders who will be affected by the changes, including provincial/territorial governments and education associations. The intent of the consultations will be to fully communicate the extent and intended interpretation of the changes as well as to refine the regulations further as required.
While questions around the implementation of the proposed changes remain, CIC’s goal of increasing the integrity and accountability of Canada’s International Student Program is being supported by most stakeholders.
Languages Canada is entirely supportive of [the proposed changes] as they pertain to issues of quality assurance, protection of students, and prevention of fraud,” says Peralta. “The devil, as they say, is in the details.”
By Shashidhar Nanjundaiah
Imagine a light that flashes each time there is mail in your outdoor postal mailbox, while another switch transfers the mail indoors through a pipe. Perfect for the elderly, especially in treacherous weather.
Four years ago, I had an opportunity to attend an “Invention Convention” meant for school kids up to nine years, whose products were chosen from about 10 schools in rural Warren County in New Jersey, USA. The children came up with products that were practically applicable and answers to many of modern household and social American problems. What impressed me even more than design elements was the school kids’ preparation to explain, pitch, market and sell effectively.
The mail-switch product, fully functional, was one such on display there—designed by an 8-year-old, sparkling-eyed, shy little girl. Would it be a surprise if this young woman went on to do something innovative in her career? There were about 20 such products on display. The students’ ability to come up with complete solutions for their society reflected an ability to identify a need and think seamlessly between physics, social science, economics, and pure and practical common sense; to do this in their own way, independently, with some simple but effective guidance from teachers at the implementation stage.
Education-application synergy has been well-documented, yet it seems to largely elude the liberal arts. The fracture between subjects, and between those academic subjects and industries, is particularly ubiquitous and confusing when it comes to liberal arts, humanities and the social sciences. Our current systems often do not allow students to understand and use the interdisciplinary side of their professional world. Some of us educators have pontificated on the application of subjects to the dreaded ‘real world.’ The more daring among us have even attempted to point out what ought to have been the obvious: that the subjects we teach have a bearing on our life’s experiences. But very few educators have attempted to show how. Further, few, if any, have attempted to draw linkages between subjects or areas of study.
So how can educational institutions change the methods to make their students think independently and to question themselves? Simple: teach them how to seek answers. For this, independent and proactive learning is imperative, and one way is to allow interdisciplinary research projects that will help students apply those linkages.
Linking language and culture studies to employablity
Conventionally, languages and culture studies have been taught as purely academic disciplines, with few employment opportunities outside the sporadic jobs at government departments of culture and languages. The media industries do hire off humanities colleges but feel the need to retrain students toward business awareness, audience perception, knowledge of marketing, and such “downstream” skills. No longer is it enough to be merely creative experts—the ability to understand audiences and disseminate information with optimal effectiveness is best exemplified in blogs and the social media. With the explosive growth of the media, culture and languages have a large scope to consciously be dovetailed and insinuated into the communication industries, including the media and the segments servicing them, i.e., advertising, public relations and media research. Instead of having separate “creative” schools, the institutional (as opposed to individual) endeavor should be to integrate disciplines of writing, culture, media and communication studies. Extrapolate that to sociology, anthropology, history, etc, and you get an exponential growth in employability all around.
Employability of professional graduates: what’s the problem?
Higher education typically suffers from “little knowledge creation.” This was a conclusion reached at the 2006 seminar ‘Washington Symposium’ hosted by NAFSA. They probably stopped short of another obvious truth: lack of knowledge creation in our campuses is a major reason that “unemployability” persists.
Less than 25 percent of our country’s professional graduates are employable, says a Government of India research. As Michael Spence said in the 1970s — and Infosys’s Chief Mentor N. R. Narayanamurthy echoed more recently — educational institutes have merely become a captive space from where employers pick up inherently bright students. We have heard the rhetoric time and again from management gurus and industry experts on what category of Indian professional graduates are largely unemployable:
- Employees who lack the ability to apply classroom education to professions. In particular, fresh graduates who lack the ability to analyze situations from a 360-degree approach.
- Students from institutions typically restricted by lack of quality input and innovative teachers.
- Graduates who do not know basics of their environment and their world and, in general, have neither developed a worldview nor can they analyze professional situations independently.
- Graduates who do not have learnability — that supreme capability of problem-solving, to constantly ask fundamental (and original) questions and seek answers.
Unfortunately, the above list would include a majority of professional graduates and institutions in India. Individual talent will always continue to shine through but, systemically, educational training doesn’t prepare our graduates to solve problems in a practical world where they must apply more than just their field of study.
Surely the education system in India cannot look the other way while our industries (Infy itself, for example) are starting up their own training institutes to transform professional graduates into employable professional graduates?
And content isn’t really the problem, is it? Information is at our fingertips today — quite literally. It is the structure of learning, or pedagogical methodology, that’s dubious. It is in human nature to apply eclectic learning to real life, and our education system can easily put that inherent advantage to good use. All it takes is reengineering our thoughts about what education really is.
Why were some of us made to take a specific combination of subjects at college – Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics or Biology at pre-university; then Physics, Chemistry, or Mathematics at the graduate level? Why not a mix of Physics, English Literature, and Geography? Is it because the makers of education policy wanted to make sure the degrees they were awarding were either a ‘B.Sc.’ or a ‘B.A.’ or a “B.Com”?
The easiest thing for students to understand would be linkages across disciplines in the professional world. “Interdisciplinary” indicates that our learning needs to be across disciplines, not just in one discipline, and linking disciplines along the way. The Harvard Business School, in its review seminar in November 2008, felt that its MBAs were increasingly becoming irrelevant in a globalizing world. The solution? Their MBA programs will become increasingly interdisciplinary in approach.
If each level of higher education provided the following to our budding managers, communicators, and techies alike, each of us would feel far more educated than we do today:
- Provide input in a variety of general subjects — Geography, History, Statistics, Economics, and Psychology to name a few — but applied to the student’s major field of study. A refresher course is all that is required and, this time around, the subjects are linked to our chosen professions.[In a survey I conducted in late 2008, senior industry practitioners and hiring managers in India, USA and UK unanimously agreed that this approach would provide a more global world-view and make students more employable.]
- Allow students to choose independent research projects across courses, allowing them to select only relevant classes. The successful completion of an interdisciplinary project is a sure way of making graduates think analytically and to break down academic walls.
- Take the interdisciplinary approach, whereby curriculum experts and teachers collaborate to carefully ‘map’ the content of a subject on to the desired learning outcome.For example, in a management institute, that goal could be to produce an effective manager, equipped with a well-rounded world-view and sound judgment. A question we could be asking ourselves in designing such a course is, “Which portions of, say, Psychology, would be most relevant to a manager?”)
Why are we learning what we’re learning?
Input (and output) among a majority of our educational institutions has been largely tools-oriented. If you asked professional graduates why they should or ought to know what they know chances are they would draw a blank.
UNESCO’s International Commission on Education for the 21st Century states that education must be organized around four types of learning:
- learning to know, that is acquiring the instruments of understanding;
- learning to do, so as to be able to act creatively in one’s environment;
- learning to live together, so as to participate and cooperate with other people in all human activities; and
- learning to be, a progression toward sustainable existence.
The global marketplace is more demanding of broader skill-sets than before. The requirement set is solutions-driven: a combination of technological, professional, business, social, and life skills — and many more intangible concepts. No longer is it enough to “super-specialize” – there is more demand for multi-skilled multi-specialists and generalists, who can adapt to specific environments. While some of these skills may evolve over time, many of them need a fundamental change in the way academic institutions think.
True integration of UNESCO’s four principles can only occur when learning is the acquisition of skills for employment and/or entrepreneurship. But learning cannot be as narrow or as super-focused on employment: it must make a student employable as a method to make him or her grasp the concepts in all their applications.
The integration and interaction of disciplines at once widens the boundaries and expects an employee to quickly learn to specialize. It is important to recognize that education is only a trigger to learn and often results in individuals understanding their own capabilities in a better way. Faculty training, periodic faculty meetings where faculty make presentations and help one another to understand why students must experience an interdisciplinary education, and a healthy interface with the industries will go a long way in addressing the still unrecognized problem.
By Sparsh Sharma
B-schools abroad are realising the importance of their students learning additional languages besides English, as businesses become more globalised and new markets emerge
In most parts of the world, English is the standard language of business but it is not the only one in an increasingly global business environment, as more B-schools abroad are recognising. MBA programmes abroad have realised the importance of not just traditionally popular languages like French or Spanish but also newer ones like Arabic, Hindi, and Mandarin.
Key to success
Dr Jack McGourty, director of community and global entrepreneurship at Columbia Business School and faculty member teaching graduate courses in entrepreneurship, venture creation and technology management at Columbia University, USA, says, “No matter what your chosen career path is, today, being facile in more than one language will enhance a manager’s ability to navigate complex global business and cultural environments. Graduate business programmes should offer students alternative vehicles, integrated with curricular programmes, to increase proficiency in languages of choice.”
Columbia Business School’s Chazen Institute offers several programmes to enhance students’ language proficiency including MBA exchange, global immersion programme and the Chazen language programme, offering courses in Arabic, business English, Chinese, French, German, Hindi, Japanese, Portuguese and Spanish at the beginner, intermediate and advanced levels.
Charmaine Courtis, executive director, student services and international relations, Schulich School of Business, York University, Canada, says, “The international MBA (IMBA) programme at Schulich recently celebrated its 20th anniversary. This programme, right from the original format, has required students to develop a second language and an expertise in the region of the world where that language is the language of business. We recognised, two decades ago, that this was the only way to establish oneself in a global context. Having just recently attended an IMBA alumni-connect event, I was amazed to see how this has set our graduates apart. They are making a difference around the globe.”
At Cambridge Judge Business School in UK, one of the electives/ projects in the MBA requires students to learn Mandarin.
Dr. Jochen Runde, director of the MBA at the prestigious B-school, says, “This is a beginners’ course that is offered at the end of the academic year to our MBA students. For most of the attending students, successful completion of the course is a requisite for completing their studies. The course focuses on three language skills: listening, speaking and reading. Due to the complex nature of the Chinese writing system (characters rather than an alphabet), writing is not one of the main aims of this course. We are offering this course as a summer activity option because of the ever-growing importance of China in the world economy. The aim is to give our non-Mandarin speaking students an opportunity to develop some of the language skills they will need to make them more effective in this arena.”
At the leading Aarhus University (AU) of Denmark, the average student arrives already proficient in two or three languages. Lene Pederson, the MBA programme manager at AU’s School of Business and Social Sciences, says, “It’s amazing to find that some students are proficient in more than three languages too. A growing number of students from Asian countries already know English in addition to their native languages. Most of them then learn Danish language also, once they are here.”
Exchange programmes play a part
According to Laura Wood, director of international programmes and services, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, Canada, exchange programmes play an important part in learning different languages and cultures.
“With an already global student body from 32 countries speaking 37 languages, Rotman encourages all students to further internationalise their degree through international exchange programmes, study tours, a module on doing business internationally and consulting projects or internships. Participation in these programmes certainly provides students with the opportunity to practice foreign language skills, contributing to both their personal and professional development as well as the B-school’s linguistic and cultural diversity,” says Wood.
Understanding culture also important
According to Narayanan Ramaswamy, partner of management consulting, KPMG India, it’s not only an issue of learning languages. “It’s not a language issue alone. Understanding the culture and being culturally-sensitive is as important as communication skills. A good manager is required to develop additional language skills. It is a major differentiator in a competitive global market. Knowledge of more languages is always welcome.”
Source: Daily News and Analysis via Indian Economic Business News
Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper, has lauded the entrepreneurial spirit of Gujarat and said that the state is playing an important role in strengthening Canada-India relations. In a letter to Chief Minister Narendra Modi, the Canadian PM said that Gujarat, one of India’s most dynamic and industrious states, is world-renowned for its entrepreneurial spirit. “The state is an important partner for Canada thanks to its strategic location, strong economic credentials, and multilingual skilled workforce,” Harper said in the letter. Canada is one of the partners of Vibrant Gujarat Summit 2013,. Describing Vibrant Gujarat Summit as an international platform which provides a wonderful opportunity to foster new commercial relationships and enhance people-to-people ties, Harper said that Canada recently opened a trade office in Ahmedabad to facilitate new business and trade opportunities for Canada and the Gujarati community.“I would like to thank the Chief Minister Narendra Modi and Gujarat government for their contributions to strengthening Canada-India relations,” the Canadian Prime Minister added.