Beginning his career as an advocate and having more than 20 years of experience in the field of higher education, Prof. Chris Chang, Pro Vice-Chancellor Global Engagement, University of Portsmouth resolves the doubt that lurks in the mind of every Indian student. He unveils to Higher Education Plus, the difference in study methodologies, shift in the choice of courses amongst Indian students, sustainable study culture, and the emerging advances in the technology sector for both the nations.
1. How does job opportunities look for Indian students in the UK after studies?
The global job market is very competitive at present and this is the same in the UK. For Indian students they would be able to compete in the UK job market – our international students have gone onto careers in Banking and Finance, IT, Engineering, Education as well as multinationals and to medium-sized enterprises as well. Ultimately whether they are successful would depend on how well they perform in the interview and on the strength of their CV. Hence having a good CV and a good interview approach is important. Where they are able to secure a job at the right level and their employer can sponsor them for a work visa, they will be able to stay in the UK. It is important for Indian students to make use of the careers service in the University to help them prepare their CV and to develop their interviewing skills to give them the best chance of success in looking for employment. Our Careers and Employability Service provides support for our graduates up to five years after graduation and we have facilities for our graduates to look for job opportunities in the global marketplace.
2. What do you think about the preferences of Indian students for higher education in the UK?
Indian students come to the UK to undertake Undergraduate as well as Postgraduate study. Traditionally they tend to have come for postgraduate courses but over the last few years, the trend has observed an increase in undergraduate students coming to study in the UK. There has also been a change in subjects they wish to study. In the past, this has been in the professional areas such as Engineering, Law, Pharmacy, Medicine as well as Business including the MBA.
However, in recent years we have seen a rise in popularity of more specific or specialized courses such as Sports Science/ Management, and specialized business courses such as digital marketing or Brand Management. In the next few years as the traditional jobs would change, a greater focus on artificial intelligence, communications, robotics, cyber security and cyber crime, virtual and augmented reality, data science or big data, as well as other computer, electronics and IT related courses will prove to be popular since here, lies future jobs.
3.What are the new MoUs that the University of Portsmouth has signed with Indian Institutions?
We are signing a MoU with Raksha Shakti University to collaborate in the area of Criminal Justice, particularly in the areas of Forensic Science, Cyber Security, and Counter Fraud. We have an excellent research centre in this area within our Institute of Criminal Justice where our academic colleagues already work with police forces and institutes from across the world in this area.
We have an established Forensic Innovation Centre where we work closely with the Hampshire Police in the area of Forensics. RSU with its focus on police science aligns with our own specialization in this area and we have opportunities to collaborate and share knowledge.
We have MOUs with a number of other Indian Universities where we are exploring collaboration in specific areas, particularly in research and staff/student exchanges. We believe that global collaboration is important for our University’s global footprint.
4. What are your expectations for Indian students?
Universities in the United Kingdom have always been delighted to have Indian students study with them – they are hardworking, passionate and driven to succeed. They are a pleasure to teach and they settle and assimilate well into UK education. Our expectations are that Indian students continue to engage with UK education as we see the relationship between the UK and India as being of crucial importance and this should be reflected in Indian students studying with us in the UK.
I would also personally like to see more UK students having exposure in India given it is the 6th largest economy in the world according to the reported GDP this year. Our students have a lot to learn to from Indian students and from India in general. Hence in the partnerships, we are developing in India, we seek to encourage more staff and student exchanges so that we develop this global engagement of our students as a two-way exchange.
5. Why do you think students from India choose the University of Portsmouth?
We are progressive and vibrant and a new kind of university. We intend to discover and connect with our local and global community. Teaching comes first at the University of Ports-mouth and students are central to everything we do. We offer more than 200 undergraduate degrees, and 150 postgraduate and doctorate degrees and programmes across all subjects.
Work placements, research, and real-world settings continue to help us offer Gold Standard teaching as awarded by the UK government’s Teaching Excellence Framework. The recognition we receive reassures us that we’re onto something. The Economist* ranked us the ‘No.1 University for boosting graduates’ salaries’. We are also in the top 25% of UK universities for employment outcomes five years after graduation
We’re closely involved with our local community and we take our ideas out into the global marketplace. We welcome 25,000 students from over 150 countries and our international network comprises regional offices in Beijing,
Shanghai, Delhi, Kuala Lumpur and Lagos with representatives in 78 countries. Existing academic partnerships across Europe, America, East and South East Asia, the Middle East, and Australia further strengthen our reach. Our education strategy, which underpins our curriculum development and pedagogy, says that we seek to:
Provide intellectual challenge, enhance skills acquisition and embody academic excellence through courses that are practice-informed and engages students in research and innovation;
Ensure that every student participates in career-enhancing activities to learn through experience and to strengthen their personal development; and
Develop, deliver and enhance pedagogic practice and innovation through engaged and passionate staff, who are recognized and rewarded for their achievement and creativity.
6. What is the difference between education in India and UK?
The imparting of knowledge to the students and how they learn takes different forms in different countries. We find students from India and Asia particularly strong in the maths and sciences. The opportunity for Indian students to study in another environment such as the UK allows them to develop a different set of skills to enhance what they have already learned. It provides them with an added advantage when they come to compete in the global job market. In the UK now, there is a lot of focus on developing graduate and employability skills as well as a global outlook. We feel that this is crucial for our graduates in the current competitive job market.
7. Students who go abroad are often worried about the difference in study methodologies. What advice would you give them?
Be open and prepared to learn the different methodologies. There is nothing to be afraid of. As a University, we will support the students when they join us to help them to settle down and assimilate into University life. During their time with us, they will be supported by a personal tutor or an academic adviser who they can turn to for advice and guidance. We want to ensure that they benefit from their time with us and receive not just a degree but an education in a holistic sense. This will see them developing the other skills and experiences that will enhance their CV and give them an edge in the career market.
Do engage with different opportunities that the University can provide during their studies such as internships, placements, volunteering, study abroad or student exchange as well as involvement in the life of the University such as its clubs and societies. This will provide the opportunity to make friends as we have students from 150 different countries and hence have an opportunity to develop their global networks whilst with us as well as learning to work in multinational and multicultural teams.
8. How do you think India and the UK can work together academically in the field of emerging technologies?
There is already a lot of collaboration between the UK and India in the area of emerging technologies. Just last week Tata Motors’ first electric Jaguar car was used by Prince Charles to welcome Prime Minister Modi in London at CHOGM. Both the UK and India have excellent universities and collaboration between them has been happening for a long time and will continue to do so.
UK and Indian institutions working together can bid for funding under the Newton Bhabha Fund which has the objective of ‘bringing together the UK and Indian scientific research and innovation sectors to find joint solutions to the challenges facing India in economic development and social welfare’. The priority areas identified are:
- Sustainable Cities and Rapid Urbanisation.
- Public Health and Wellbeing.
- Energy Water Food Nexus.
- The Fund has also identified the two underpinning capabilities which are high-value manufacturing and big data.
9. How does the University of Portsmouth plan to reach out to more international students?
We’re closely involved with our local community and we take our ideas out into the global marketplace. We are a global university and we welcome 25,000 students from over 150 countries. Our international network comprises regional offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Kuala Lumpur and Lagos, a regional advisers team in Delhi together with representatives in 78 countries. This ensures we have a network that can provide advice to potential students and parents about studying with us.
We have a University Strategy and Global Engagement Strategy that sees us increasing our global footprint and develop our collaborations and partnerships internationally. Existing academic partnerships across Europe, America, East and South East Asia, the Middle East, and Australia further strengthen our reach. In a number of these partnerships, the students can study for a Portsmouth degree without leaving their country – we have this provision in China, Oman, Hong Kong, Singapore, Greece, Germany and will see this expanding over the next few years. In addition, we have in excess of 60 different universities around the world where our students can undertake an exchange programme.