Strong roots and branches

January 24, 2013

In recent years, a number of British universities have encouraged international outreach by establishing campuses worldwide. Students from around the world benefit from the establishment of such campuses by being given the opportunity to gain high-quality British degrees outside the UK.

As principal of West Nottinghamshire College, a further education organisation offering a wide range of higher education courses, I have considerable understanding of the academic journey. Since joining the council of the University of Nottingham in 2009, I have had the privilege of being involved with developing the institution’s global strategy. At the end of last year I made my second visit to Nottingham’s Ningbo campus in China and to its outpost in Malaysia, where I was able to see for myself the impressive benefits of a truly global university.

Education is a global community, a global concern and a global marketplace. While British universities have a legacy of esteem that is the envy of the world, we must not be complacent: instead, we must strive to maintain and more importantly develop that reputation.

Competitors from the foremost Asian universities have established the link between internal investment, innovative research and their place in the global market. British universities must continue to forge new methods to expand their reach and retain their standing as among the best in the world: what is more, they must tell the world about it.

There are significant advantages to the localities where UK branch campuses have been established. While on my visit to the Far East I had the pleasure of meeting numerous employers and government officials. They discussed with enthusiasm the immense value and high levels of expertise that the Nottingham graduates supply to the regional workforce.

Encouraging an appreciation of diverse cultures, twinned with exposure to a variety of investigative academic techniques and business practices, will develop generations of genuinely global citizens. British universities are in a position to pioneer this approach, not just to produce an exceptional student body but also to take the lead in a truly global academic market. Let us strive to spread the good news about such endeavours.

Asha Khemka, Principal and chief executive West Nottinghamshire College, Council member, University of Nottingham.

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