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New equitable TNE model proposed by CCG

A new TNE model focused on equitable partnerships between developed and emerging markets is being discussed by numerous Indian institutions, according to stakeholders.

A number of Indian universities have already expressed interest, according to both Dagar and Cormack. Photo: Pexels

A partnership development fund, which is a “resource-sharing financial model”, would also be initiated

The Equitable Articulation and Progression Model, developed by the Cormack Consultancy Group – behind the UK’s #TwinforHope campaign with UUKi – aims to allow for more partnerships and TNE endeavours on a level playing field.

The project is currently largely focused on Indian universities, which CCG has been discussing the model with. Some Indonesian institutions are also in preliminary talks.

“The problem is Australia, the UK and the US in particular look at India as a recruitment market. They don’t look at it as a partnership market,” Charles Cormack, the Group’s founder, said.

“The conversation often goes, Indian universities say ‘we’d like to partner with you. We’d love to have a conversation about what we can do with you around research, and we’d like to look at some short term mobility for our students’.

“The response from the British university is, ‘Well, send us some students. And if we get a good number of students, of course we can have a conversation about that’. 

“That is completely unsatisfactory because you’re not treating the Indian institution with the respect it deserves because these are good universities,” Cormack explained.

A number of progression arrangements in the model would be embedded within a “broader, mutually beneficial collaborative framework”. 

“There are a number of ways of structuring these, from a straight progression to a 2+2 model, but one of the most promising possibilities involves a 3+1+1 partnership. In this model, students would complete Years 1-3 at their home institution – that is, the local partner.

“Students would then be admitted to a one-year top-up program at a trusted International Partner in the UK, Canada, Australia or the US,” the document outlining the model explains. 

While the 3+1+1 model is not the only model, Cormack said, it’s one that’s promising “especially in India where students doing non STEM subjects” – they complete their undergrad in three years, can then go to the UK for a year to get their UK undergraduate degree and then progress to a masters.

While it is one of the more innovative models, other models will be based on a “simple progression” to postgraduate study, Cormack clarified.

The international partner would commit to supporting the university in the emerging market in “areas that suit their shared needs and interests”, including joint research, faculty exchange, curriculum development and so on.  

A partnership development fund, which is a “resource-sharing financial model”, would also be initiated as part of the project.

“In essence, you’re treating the institution fairly, you’re building capacity at your partner institution, which means that in three or four years time you’re going to end up with quite a rich academic partnership. 

“There will be research going on, and all sorts of mobility, so you’ve actually got a partnership, not just this transaction,” Cormack added. 

Also giving advice on the topic to CCG in its development was the joint secretary of the Association of Indian Universities, Kuldeep Dagar – who said that whilst some institutions aren’t particularly interested in TNE at all in India, there are many Tier 2 or 3 cities with universities that have the appetite.

“This population of institutions who want equitable TNE is increasing. They’ve started saying, ‘we should not be recruiters for foreign HEIs in India’. 

“Internationalisation is not only student mobility; we all have to grow together, sharing knowledge and quality practices. And whatever fund we generate, it should get brought back in both institutions.” 

As well as multiple Indian universities being targeted for this equitable model, where a cohort study is being conducted, the model looks set to be rolled out in Indonesia as part of other projects being developed by CCG.

Dagar noted that currently with 2+1 bachelor’s programs, the Indian institution is tasked with recruiting students for it.

“This is a good starting point,” he added, referring to the model.

“[Currently], the Indian partner is doing everything; they are marketing the new program and the UK institution is still going to get a fixed number of students a year,” he said.

The model, and the proposed Partnership Development Fund, would aim to put the onus on the international partner to conduct more of the legwork, thus garnering an equal footing.

The development fund, Cormack added, would put a percentage analogous with what a UK institution is paying an agent into a partnership development fund – which is then held.

“That money doesn’t don’t go to India, it doesn’t go to cash or anything, but it’s held internally – and that money is then used specifically to give the Indian institution what it wants from the partnership,” Cormack elaborated.

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