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Dr. (Mrs.) Pankaj Mittal, Secretary General, Association of Indian Universities, Highlights the key initiatives taken by AIU

“The National Educational Policy talks about Internationalization of higher education, and we are trying to help it out by making one Indian Network of International Higher Education,” says Dr. (Mrs.) Pankaj Mittal, Secretary General, Association of Indian Universities in an interview with Chandan Anand, CEO & Group Editor, ArdorComm Media Group at the ‘New Normal – Education Leadership Summit & Awards 2023’ #ELSANewDelhi #ELSAGurugram

How do you justify events like this, where we have policymakers, academicians, educators, corporates, and EdTech at a common platform?

Association of Indian Universities, is the largest association of the world with a membership base of around 955 universities. We feel that we are answerable to our universities, we want to give them the best facilities and services. So, when we attend events like this, we come to know so many new things, like new technologies and developments in the education sector, especially in the private sector. You have many speakers like starting from policy makers as well as the policy implementers. So, these events are good for us and we keep on learning. These events contribute to the development and improvement of education quality, and they help in bringing new advancements to the knowledge of the people. So, I think these are very good events and very good initiatives, keep it up and keep holding such events and all the best for the future.

Would like to understand more about AIU, any special highlights which under your leadership AIU is about to implement or has implemented successfully?

Association of Indian Universities is the largest association and our mandate is very big. Unlike most of the associations in the world, we are dealing with the students, we are engaging with the teachers, we are engaging with the Vice Chancellors. For students we have many programs starting from sports and culture, to student research projects. We deal with the teachers in making the capacity building, we deal with the Vice Chancellors in terms of having roundtables and conferences. Some two three initiatives which I would like to highlight here is the National Educational Policy talks about Internationalization of higher education, and we are trying to help it out by making one Indian Network of International Higher Education. So, INIHE we call it in short where we are trying to help the Indian universities to internationalize. We know that India is a vast country, there’s a lot of diversity, there are universities that are very good in Internationalization, there are universities who have the intent to do Internationalization but they don’t know how to do it, whom to contact, how to partner. So, in all these cases we are helping the universities, how to even open an International student’s office, how big the office should be, what should be the objectives, what that office should be doing, what staff should be there. So, in all these things and also in partnering with the foreign institutions, if you are not able to find a partner, we help you find a partner, we help foreign universities to find partner in India. Many times, they don’t know that which university is particularly good in a specific area, so we have an AIU collaboration portal, in the specific areas you come to know that which Indian university is good. We have recently established AADC which is Academic and Administrative Development Centres, and the purpose is that many times the university teachers don’t know how to use technology effectively for the teaching learning, so these centres are basically training teachers to use the technologies for teaching learning, for research, for assessments and evaluation so that it becomes much more effective. So, like these we are taking many initiatives, including one initiative which is having consultancy services for the universities. Nowadays there are many private consultants and at times they are also fleecing the universities, so we have made the consultancy service in which we are helping the universities to find good consultants in all the areas whether it is Internationalization, industry-university connect, NAAC accreditation, NIRF ranking. So, these are some of the major initiatives there are many more.

How can universities enrol with the AIU if they are not already a member?

It’s very simple, the only requirement is that you should be having a 2F certification from the UGC. So, if you are included in the section 2F list of the UGC, you can enrol as a member of AIU, there’s a proforma given in the website of AIU, just fill up that proforma and we do it very fast, within a month you get the membership and you know how valuable that membership would be because we have less than 1100 universities in the country out of which 950 are our members and it is voluntary not mandatory so, they see value in the membership. So, if your university is not a member, do become a member today.

How would you educate or advise people their role for implementing NEP faster in their capacity in their institutions?

NEP implementation is something which has to be done in bits and pieces not like a capsule which you have to swallow as a whole. Its like a tablet which can be eaten bit by bit. So, there are many aspects of NEP which can be implemented immediately and many have been implemented but there are many aspects which are long drawn, for example de-affiliation of colleges with universities, 15 years timeline is given, to make every university multidisciplinary, to make every university large. 4-year degree program is something which has been implemented in many of the universities. ABC (Academic Bank of Credit) which has been established but it will take some time. So, there are many aspects which are already implemented, some are being implemented and some will be implemented in future depending upon the timelines drawn in the NEP 2020 document.

We are successfully celebrating our second year of existence and it’s our second anniversary, any wishes for ArdorComm Media?

I should say, ‘Phulon phalon’, grow more and more and keep doing good events and keep helping the universities to improve the quality, because quality is the key thing, when we talk of Internationalization, the most important thing which the international universities see for themselves in India is the quality of our education. So, unless the quality is good we won’t be able to sustain ourselves. So, quality is of prime importance. Thank you.

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