Professor Santa J.Ono, President and Vice-Chancellor at the University of British Columbia while in conversation with Higher Education Plus presents his views on ways to impart quality education.
How do you view the level of higher education across the world?
There are real diversity and quality in higher education across the world. Some institutions are not selective and some institutions are highly selective. The quality is quite variable depending upon the institutions.
Any message for students dealing with career-related dilemmas?
One needs to keep an open mind. Most of the students after entering into universities change their mind and that is very healthy. As young generation is still searching for what they are passionate about one should give them the flexibility to search and to be really sure about what they want to do before deciding what there first degree would be. So, my advice to them is to keep an open mind, really find what your passion is, and then choose that for defining a career path.
How could industry and academia gap be bridged?
One of the effective ways of learning at most of the universities is work integrated learning or co-operative education. Average student regardless of their major should be given work experience at an industry in their respective fields while studying at universities.
How is UBC different from other Universities catering Higher Education?
UBC is really different from other universities for a number of reasons. It is highly international. 26 percent of students are from other countries and hence students learn different perspectives and cultures. It is a university which tries to address issues of the world by utilising the expertise of students and faculties.
How do you see world economies coming together and trying to improve the quality of education?
One of the main reasons to travel to India is sharing the best practices in imparting education. In the forum of University of Chicago centre, we discussed how we could cooperate with universities of India to tackle with issues like energy and so more of that kind of cooperation and transparent dialogues would help to resolve these issues.
How do you see the transition in the education system with technology advancement?
The current students and the future students are digital natives and not embracing technology will be a mistake for them. For over a decade at the UBC, we have strived hard to combine technology with education.
A word of advice for Indian students.
We believe that 1200 students that are currently enrolled at the University of British Columbia play a very important role in creating the culture. We hope that these students would continue to find UBC an attractive destination and will join us in our community. They will be a very valuable part of our community.