Higher Education Quality and BRICS Network University Pact: Academic Leadership as a Booster

Higher Education Quality and BRICS Network University Pact: Academic Leadership as a Booster

Neeta Baporikar (Namibia University of Science and Technology, Namibia & University of Pune, India) and Shalaka Parker (D.Y. Patil Institute of MCA and Management, Pune, India)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 13
DOI: 10.4018/IJPAE.2019100103

Abstract

Education is a universal tool, which empowers and sets the progressive tenor for future humankind and globe. In view of this, BRICS Network University (NU) has created a co-operative institutional mechanism wherein 12 universities of five nations will engage typically for designing educational programs, initiating research and innovation activities, and planning the academic mobility of faculty, staff, and students. Paralleled, there is also an acute need for BRICS NU to build, nurture, and sustain academic leadership in its universities to enable the expansion of its gamut to address the global opportunities and challenges in higher education. Adopting a qualitative case-based approach this paper seeks to understand how academic leadership will boost the higher education quality through the BRICS NU pact. It also deliberates on the need for conscious responsiveness to the ever-changing nature of higher education, needs to collaborate and engage globally, imbibe the global opportunities and convert the global challenges into research problems and academic programmes.
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Introduction

Education is a universal tool, empowering everyone and setting a progressive tone for the future of the humankind and globe. Thus, it being a universal and apolitical tool, it is important to understand that higher education is not about negotiation but about co-operation within the members of its fraternity and all its stakeholders at large (Baporikar, 2016). In view of this certain aforementioned outlook, one may tentatively generate suppositions wherein that the higher educational institutions (HEIs) are the source of quality education and knowledge generation and thereby would not involve any requisites in terms of investment, academic or otherwise and furthermore, that they already cater to superlative strategies, approaches, and practices towards furnishing individuals with knowledge. Because of this, there is no proactive discussion and a volte-face with regard to the higher educational institutions regarding investment in the designing or redesigning of knowledge management practices to improve the quality of education and student- learning processes and outcomes (Baporikar, 2017) . On the other hand, the dire necessity to prepare the students for global citizenship with the multi-fold and multifaceted global advancement in all the fields is undeniable. To do so, higher educational institutions should not only lay emphasis on delivering academic excellence but also groom the students to be technically competent and globally employable via the domain of academic leadership qualities.

Academic leadership plays a pivotal and quintessential role in fostering a skillset related to coalition building, advocacy, activism and communication via educational practices. An additional asset that functions hand in hand with the code of academic leadership is the enhancement of cultural competency that it brings about and thus, it can be emphasized that it promotes the emerging academic leaders in the various nations across the globe to work across organizational boundaries and improve partnerships, policy and practice (Baporikar & Sony, 2020). It is therefore irrefutable that this leadership process would successfully forge meaningful agreements with parentages, school boards, fellow faculty, industries, state agencies and community organizations.

This, in turn, demands a designing of the rationale of the academic leadership model owing to the fact that the increasingly complex internal and external milieu in which universities run and operate renders it extremely indispensable for the individuals holding senior administrative positions to be knowledgeable. Unfortunately, a majority of these aforementioned individuals assuming leadership responsibilities in these universities or other educational institutes, while highly skilled in numerous other academic disciplines or otherwise, are endowed amateurs in leadership and management. That is to say, that the general global academia must take into consideration the symbiotic relationship that persists between the two paradigms, viz. Academic Leadership and the factors pertaining to Higher Education.

In view of this, the BRICS Network University (NU) has created a co-operative institutional mechanism wherein 12 universities of all the five nations engage with each other majorly in designing Educational Programs, Initiating Research and Innovation activities, and planning the Academic Mobility of Faculty, Staff and Students. Statistics claim that one out of every three students is in the world lives under a BRICS nation and hence, this number does not just call out for the expansion and encouragement meted out towards the pursuing of higher education but more emphatically on developing and boosting the quality of knowledge and tertiary education through centers of academic excellence.

However, these collaborative efforts of BRICS NU should also focus on the global opportunities and challenges in Higher Education. They should also consider the other KRAs of Higher Education such as designing a contemporary and outcome-based curriculum, designing ICT enabled pedagogies and infrastructure, grooming and skilling of the intellectual capital, enhancing Industry Institute Interface and so on in their strategic initiatives for fostering excellence in academics in its universities. On a parallel front and as delineated previously, there is also an acute need for BRICS NU to build, nurture and sustain Academic Leadership in its Universities. This will enable the expansion of its gamut to addressing the global opportunities and challenges in Higher Education, the aforementioned KRAs of Higher Education and including all the Universities of BRICS in this network.

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