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The 10th Cooperation Conference examines the transformation of India and its future challenges

02/28/2014

 

Jatinder Jit Singh, an Indian lecturer at the Marketing Management Department at ESADE–URL, recommends that Spanish universities create a range of courses that can compete with those offered in countries like Canada, England, Australia and USA to attract Indian students. 

 Josep Maria Garrell, rector of URL: “This conference is a great opportunity for the three universities to share our experiences on cooperation”.

 Presentation of the first edition of the Awards: ”Ignacio Ellacuría Award for Social Interest Studies” and “Good Practices Award for University Development Cooperation”.

 

 “India is changing a lot. What happens this year is no longer valid the next.”  These were Jatinder Jit Singh’s words, an Indian lecturer at the Marketing Management department at ESADE–URL, at the start of his opening address “A brief introduction to India:  culture, economy and society” at the 10th Cooperation Conference devoted to India, which was held at Universitat Ramon Llull’s (URL) Rector’s office.

After doing a review of India’s history and legacy, he focused its economy.  The fact is that India, as a former British colony, experienced an economic and cultural change after its independence in 1947. “The economic reforms were not very promising at first as people were afraid; they were very conservative and there was much protectionism but then, it became economically  liberal and the economy grew, and there were improvements in industry, agriculture, employment…” , ESADE’s lecturer explained.

As Jit Singh summarised to explain the cultural diversity of this country “There is not one India but many Indias” Each of its 28 states is like one country, with its own language (there are 22 official languages and 800 dialects), its festivals, its ceremonies, numerous religions and classical dances.

ESADE’s lecturer, a marketing expert, focused his lecture on demography and the opportunities for consumption of the different profiles of India’s population.  Jit Singh pointed out that India has a young population compared to Spain and explained that private consumption has increased a lot, as it has gone from the consumption of basic needs to more luxury goods, or transport and education, which has attracted much foreign investment.

Jit Singh highlighted that the companies that invest in India divide the population into urban (30%) and rural (70%) groups and gave some examples of the innovation carried out by those organisations. “Faced with the great demand for mobile phones, Nokia carried out a study in rural areas and found that phones were used by more than one person and they used them for strictly functional purposes, which helped to launch a model that met their needs and was very successful”, he explained.

Jit Singh ended by saying that, in spite of the rapid increase in population, the economy is not growing as expected, and pointed to other problems such as the extreme complexity of managing diversity or corruption, where India “ranks 87 on a list of 178 countries”, Jit Singh added. 

Trends in higher education

Once discussion was opened up, Carlo Gallucci, Vice-Rector for International Relations and Students at URL, referred to the need for internationalisation of Spanish universities, and asked Jit Singh what could be done here to attract Indian students.  Jit Singh pointed out that Spanish universities have two problems to attract Indian students.  The first: the lack of programmes taught in English and the need to create courses that can compete with those offered in other countries.  The second: the employment of foreign students once they have completed their studies.  “Students still find it difficult to find a job once they have finished their studies. In Canada or England, when students finish their studies they become integrated in society; here, when students finish their studies, they wonder what they must do and we are not able to help them”, he said. 

The Aristos Campus Mundus Project, a great opportunity to share experiences in cooperation

This conference was opened by Josep M. Garrell I Guiu, rector of URL, who pointed out that the conference is framed within the ideas shared by the three universities: “the spirit of solidarity, respect, values education, a concern for others, Christian inspiration…” which is precisely where “cooperation projects to contribute to create a better world, especially for disadvantaged individuals and communities” are embedded.

Garrell referred to three new features in this Conference on Cooperation.  The first, a change of continent (the previous editions had focused on Latin American countries).  The second, the fact that this year it is organised under the Aristos Campus Mundus Project, along with the universities of Deusto and Comillas, which is a great opportunity to share cooperation experiences.  The third, the presentation of the Awards: “Ignacio Ellacuría Award for Social Interest Studies” and “Good Practices Award for University Development Cooperation”, which had a large number of participants in its first edition.

Cooperation in action: examples of cooperation activities in India 

The roundtable discussion entitled “Cooperation in action: examples of cooperation activities in India” and chaired by Carlo Gallucci, Vice-Rector for International Relations and Students at URL, included the presentations of four speakers:

  • “Lanzando una empresa social: de Barcelona a Boston y a Bombay“ by Cesar del Valle and Greg Perowne (students on the MBA FT ESADE-URL, authors of the “Origin Project” and finalists of the Annual Hult Prize international award).
  • “Compartiendo el Proyecto India, un programa de voluntariado internacional de Comillas” by,Celia Muñoz Ortega, Department of Education for Inter-Cultural Development and responsible for internships on the Master’s in Cooperation at the Universidad Pontificia Comillas; and Ana Lucena Mérida, a Nursing student at Pontificia Comillas University.
  • “The experience of an Indian PhD student at the University of Deusto” by Gipson Varghese, an Indian PhD student at the University of Deusto.
  • “Trabajar con la comunidad para una cooperación eficaz” by Jaume Sanllorente, founder and chairman of Sonrisas de Bombay, and former URL student. 

 Photographic exhibition on India 

The Conference hosted a photographic exhibition at the hall of URL’s Rector’s office, with images of a project of the Sonrisas de Bombay organisation; the “Proyecto India” of Pontificia Comillas University; and the “Origin Project: de Barcelona a Boston y a Bombay” at ESADE-URL.

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