Sciences Po administration is planning its expansion in India

Sciences Po administration is planning its expansion in India

America is the first country to offer more number of International students. This is followed by German and Chinese students. The Fourth set of international students hail from either Canada or Italy. The second largest Asian Population is comprised by Indias and they are seventh or sixth overall.

Sciences Po is a prominent public university in France situated in Paris. Sciences Po offers courses in History, Political Science, Law, Economics and Sociology. International students from across the globe constitute 50 per cent of its strength.

The director of the University of the Centre for Asia and its International Affairs Manager visited India in November. They spoke about the partnership with Indian institutions for dual degrees. They also explained why this is the right time to do so. Also, they spoke on the strategic relations between the two countries, global university ranking concerns and more.

Agenda for the Current Visit

Sciences Po is in need of many universities. All students in their system must spend one full year abroad just before they get their bachelor\’s. This is compulsory according to their system. They are currently in partnership with 13 partners and are now trying to expand.

Their strategy is to be international. India is currently becoming their strategic partner. Therefore Sciences Po is trying to develop more partnerships as a university along with student exchanges and scholarships. They are planning to send more students to India.

The main purpose of the trip is to make presentations for those who want to apply for degrees in high schools. Presentations are being made in the institutes that they have partnered with for exchanges. They are speaking to undergraduate students who wish to apply for their master\’s degree in Sciences Po.

Also, they have invited the Indian Ambassador very recently to Paris for lunch. They are also trying to keep in touch with as many political people as possible. This is because they are a university of political science. Sciences Po was the first university in France to welcome Indian students. More than 300 Indian students are presently studying at Sciences Po.

Reason for this outreach to Indian universities

Due to the strategic relations between India and France, this is considered the right moment. This does not mean that nothing has been done so yet. Sciences Po had earlier signed a partnership with Jamia Milia Islamia as early as 2000. They also signed a partnership with the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in 2009. These partnerships have seen more than a decade and Sciences Po is working to nurture these relationships as well.

Is Sciences Po interested in initiating a dual degree program?

Sciences Po is absolutely interested in initiating a dual degree program in India. However, it is unknown on when and where this new innovation will begin in India. However, some of the schools in Sciences Po are interested in launching some twinning programmes at the masters level. They are also interested in initiating dual degrees with Indian institutions.

Which are the schools in particular?

There are two schools. One of the schools is the School of Urban Studies. This school has already been linked to the National Institute of Urban Affairs located in Delhi. In India, the urban school is willing to have a dual degree possibly.

Another school is the Management and Impact School. This school is also interested in doing things such as combining business and technology. Another school is the Paris School of International Affairs (PSIA). It is hoped that the Dean of the Paris School of International Affairs will participate in the Raisina Dialogues event.

The Raisina Dialogues event will be taking place in February or March. She is the former Minister of Foreign Affairs in Spain. The former Minister of Foreign Affairs in Spain is convinced of the opportunity of doing more with India.

Sciences Po offers nine dual degrees at the UG level. However, there are over 40 dual degrees at the Masters\’s level. The greatest advantage is that French is not required for admission into Sciences Po. However, by the end of the program, students are trained and become bilingual.

Has this been communicated to the Education Ministry of India?

The lunch with the Indian ambassador was the first step taken by Sciences Po to talk about this. This was the initial stage of the talks. Between France and India, there are regular, high-level exchanges. Sciences Po is eager to take the next high-level opportunity to visit to talk about it.

Why are French institutes not ranked high compared to universities in the USA or the UK?

The Shanghai rankings are inspired by the American model of higher education including teaching, research and an important mix of both.

However, in France, research is not done within the university even though it is excellent. Research is mainly done at the National Institute of Academic and Scientific Research. Thus, when you rank a university in Paris or Marseille under the ambit of research or professors, who may be doing research, they will not sign their papers with the university\’s name.

This is not the way it is in France. According to the rankings, it is not always about the question of level or quality of excellence most of the time. It is generally a question of organisation. Moreover, the ones which are ranked high now have actually decided to include research within the university. Such universities include Sorbonne University.

They have been planning to merge the universities. Thus, they have been asking all the professors and researchers to sign with the names of the university. This clearly makes them more visible in the international rankings.

Sciences Po thinks of finding new rankings now. These rankings must not only be based on scientific research and the number of Nobel prizes won by the faculty. They must also be based on academic freedom, social responsibility, sustainable development and gender.

However, Under the ambit of Political Science, Sciences Po has quite good rankings. Sciences Po has been ranked third in the world in political science under the QS rankings. However, it is hard to be featured in the global rankings as Sciences Po doesn\’t comprise of medicine and engineering.

Withdrawing from Rankings

Prominent universities like Harvard, Yale and Berkeley schools of law have withdrawm from the university rankings of the US News and World Report earlier this month. They have stated that the matrices are in conflict with the welfare measures that they offer for the studnets.

It is also clearly seen that Chinese Universities like Jiao Tong University are withdrawing from rankings even though they have created rankings. There are mixed feelings about ranking. Sciences Po explained in their student presentation today that if they wish to apply for a university, ranking and reputation forms the foundation. However, a look at the academic program and content is equally important.

It makes a difference if a university is able to attract the best researchers from across the globe. Diversity is also a very good selling point. Whe students come from Laos and Djibouti, Sciences Po feels very proud. This is because, it is not enriching to possess only one kind of vision and one kind of culture.

Which country offers more International students to Sciences Po?

America is the first country to offer more number of International students. This is followed by German and Chinese students. The Fourth set of international students hail from either Canada or Italy. The second largest Asian Population is comprised by Indias and they are seventh or sixth overall.

Does the experience of remote teaching-learning have any kind of lasting effect on the university?

Like everyone, It was first difficult Sciences Po. They had to try and find the best way for students and teachers to interact. Also, they had to find the best way to implement their international strategy. They were not able to do compulsory year abroad.

It was also difficult to make it work through online platforms such as Zoom and so on. However, we are now enriched and have become a lot more flexible with hybrid courses and online courses.

Decline in International student numbers during pandemic

The numbers in Sciences Po did not decrease in the end. This was actually helped by Brexit. France became more attractive to others. Major controversies are seen by the Sciences Po in recent years. Thus, as a result, senior university administrators had to step down. There were various methods employed to tackle the concerns rising out of this.

This was taken into account very strongly and different initiatives were done. Sciences Po also employed a special judge to overview at the university all the issues of sexual harassment affairs. Students also have a range of issues such as the respect for identities and have been demanding accountability. It forces the institution to think about it and thus, it has a positive side.

Sciences Po is considered as a college with best study abroad programs and offers courses in History, Political Science, Law, Economics and Sociology. They are also working to be ranked in the top score with the advent of new rankings.

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