Internationalization of LIS Education in India: ICT-Based Collaborative Approach

Internationalization of LIS Education in India: ICT-Based Collaborative Approach

Swati Bhattacharyya (Indian Institute of Management Calcutta, India)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 10
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4365-9.ch023
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Internationalization of education is a perspective. It shapes the objectives and modalities of an educational program aiming at internationalization. Some existing modalities are accreditation of academic programs by international accreditation agencies, exchange programs, international conferences, etc. Library and Information Science (LIS) as academic discipline in many countries, particularly in India, may not achieve the goal of internationalization through any of these routes exclusively and quickly for various reasons discussed in this chapter. A new form of collaboration among LIS classes of two institutions from different countries/cultures is proposed here. This type of collaboration can provide an alternate route to the internationalization of LIS education in India. This chapter discusses several issues – internationalization of LIS education in general and efforts in India in this regard, how Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) are becoming relevant in spreading education. Finally, the chapter proposes an ICT-based model that can help internationalization of Indian LIS education.
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1. Introduction

Internationalization is not a monolithic structure. It is rather, a perspective which accommodates the value of different cultures on a given area of interest. The issues of internationalization of education in general and of LIS education in specific are being discussed in literature for many years. Discussions which primarily centered on US educational system looked at how to spread the education beyond the geographical boundary. On the other hand, discussions on LIS education in African and Asian countries – India being one such country – devoted to issues such as curriculum development, adopting accreditation to ensure quality etc.

Internationalization of education can be viewed from multiple perspectives. Those perspectives stem from the objectives set for such programs and subsequently shape the modalities of delivery of such education. Those perspectives also set the role and power of one or more parties – the institutions helping in internationalization and institutions receiving such process. Thus, the internationalization of education takes shape depending on the meaning of the term adopted and the motivation. The process may be completely dominated by one of the institutions involved or may be developed collaboratively. For example, Altbach (2007) identified profit, access, traditional internationalizations as some of the motivating factors behind internationalization of higher education. Earning money for the purpose of sustenance is one important goal of any university. To this end, universities of one country extend their programs to another country or tie-up with academic organizations of another country. This model is particularly helpful for those developing countries which lack adequate infrastructure and experts to meet the demand of higher education within the country. Business-wise this model is beneficial to the universities of those countries which have acquired necessary infrastructure and expertise to provide quality education. In a partly similar model, students from developing countries are selected by universities of developed countries through some aid-agencies or scholarship so that those students can come to the developed country and pursue their study.The cost of educating those students is covered by the aid agencies. This mode of internationalization, however, is instrumental in total transporting of academic program of one country to another country because university/institute offering such program controls the course structure and contents as well as the evaluation procedure.

Collaborative approach is required for certain disciplines which are sensitive to social, cultural, economic and political environment. Even though theories taught in those disciplines are same worldwide, implications of such theories and outcomes of applications can be shaped differently by different economic and social characteristics. Management Science and many social science disciplines fall under this purview. Internationalization of education with respect to such disciplines aims to develop a holistic experience for students which ultimately make them more competitive in the job market. The purpose in this case is to learn what is going on in other countries in same academic area and to develop an understanding of the subject across multiple societies and culture. Academic organizations from two countries may develop some exchange program through which students of those organizations can attend courses. In this mode, both the participating institutes work in a more collaborative approach.

Another way to look at the internationalization process is to consider target groups who become ultimate beneficiaries. The target beneficiaries can be either group/student or individual/teacher. When one university opens a branch in another country, target beneficiaries are groups of students. Exchange of program-specific students between two universities in different countries and many such other programs also target students in groups. These programs are more visible as every year number of students come out of such program in the job market. On the other hand, participation of teachers at seminars, conferences, exchange programs of teachers etc., target, at a time, one teacher/instructor. Degree to which these programs can contribute to the true internationalization of specific education depends much on how such trained individuals can integrate the outcome of their exposure in the teaching and research in her/his home country.

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