RMIT brings a slice of Australian education to India’s hill stations
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RMIT has been holding a series of Summer Schools in India’s north and is
considering a Winter School in the south.
Melbourne’s RMIT is a global university of technology, design and
enterprise. With a top 50 ranking in the QS Top 50 under 50, and a position
in the top 100 in the latest Times Higher Education University Impact
rankings, RMIT is a young university with top-level academic credentials.
Melbourne in the mountains
The hill stations of northern India may seem like unlikely locations to
hold Australian university summer school programs in biotechnology and
nanoscience but that’s exactly what RMIT has been doing, each Indian
summer, since 2017. In June of that year, RMIT launched the first program
in the Himalayan foothills town of Mussoorie.
The program saw 25 high-performing students and five teachers from Delhi
and the National Capital Region participate in intensive science-focused
study and workshops. RMIT experts shared their subject specialisation and
exposed students to enquiry-based learning methodologies. The
high-achieving students from Years 11 and 12 had shown a keen interest in
the subjects being taught at the summer school and were considering further
study in Australia or other overseas locations.
RMIT wanted to provide a learning experience that mirrored what life would
be like on its Melbourne campus. For instance, the university elected to
hold the summer school program in the cool hill stations of India’s north
to mimic Melbourne’s winter weather in June. This area is home to some of
India’s most highly regarded schools and academies, both private and
public. The peaceful setting also allowed students to immerse themselves in
the experience of RMIT education and life.
‘RMIT University’s summer school program will provide students with world-class teaching in exciting subject areas. I look forward to spending time with India’s finest and brightest young minds.’
Tom Gifford, Assistant Director, International Student Recruitment, RMIT
Being away from home and spending time with Australian academic and
university staff helped create a genuinely Australian learning experience.
Australian expertise meets Indian interest
The RMIT summer school program demonstrates how a well-considered and
executed initiative can create impact and outcomes in various ways.
Students have spoken of the friendliness of the staff and the deep
expertise and academic quality of the RMIT team. Others have spoken of the
way the programs exposed them to not only an Australian education, but the
Australian lifestyle. Some students reported having changed their minds
about studying in another country after attending one of RMIT’s summer
schools, indicating a clear preference for an Australian education. One
student’s sister applied to RMIT for a Master’s degree and is now studying
there based on the experiences of her sibling in the hill stations of
The teaching faculty who joined the summer schools have also gained a great
deal. As Professor Peter Smoker, an expert in biotechnology and program
coordinator for RMIT’s Master of Biotechnology reveals: ‘I get a lot of
satisfaction knowing that I am helping to shape the next generation of
Looking ahead to the future
RMIT has run summer schools in India for three successive years. In 2020,
it plans to repeat the initiative but with more subject areas and
concurrent teaching sessions for a larger cohort of students. RMIT is also
considering a winter school to be held late in 2020 in south India.
Focusing on targeted work in research, executive education and study
collaborations, Austrade’s network across India and the region has been
supporting Australia’s university sector outreach and initiatives in India.
Austrade worked closely with RMIT to deliver the summer school programs.
Austrade helped coordinate the events, from outreach through to the careful
selection of local schools, including prestigious Indian institutions and
Indian outposts of international schools. The involvement of Austrade also
provided additional credibility to the programs, particularly with parents,
as the badge of government in India can often be reassuring.
South Asia and India in particular represent the key growth market globally
for Australia’s education services exports. India is the world’s
fastest-growing large economy and has more tertiary-age people than any
other country. Furthermore, there is increasing interest in and awareness
of Australia’s quality education among the rising middle class in India.
With a clear path to global jobs, further education gained in Australian
universities is increasingly valued by this audience.
RMIT also understands the scale of opportunity presented by a changing
India. University commencements by Indian students have been outpacing
overall market growth rates since 2016.
The nature of interest in an Australian education is also changing. Whereas
Indian students at RMIT were previously fewer in number and typically
pursuing postgraduate study, today they are not only greater in number but
more likely to undertake undergraduate studies. Indian students are
increasingly aware that an Australian university education can help them
have interesting and rewarding global careers.
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