As India’s burgeoning youth population competes for limited university places, inevitably many thousands of intelligent and capable students will not have the opportunity for direct access to university places in India or abroad.
In some countries, such as Australia, there are already well-established alternatives, known as pathways, which have been operating since 1994. Pathways provide a link between high school systems (both Australian and international) and university education, and now also operate in countries such as the UK, Canada and the US.
Study pathways are an important feature of the Australian education system, thanks to a strong national accreditation system, the Australian Qualifications Framework, which ensures programs offer a robust curriculum and quality teaching. Today, 46% of international higher education students in Australia have undertaken some form of pathway study, either in English, foundation studies or a diploma.
Belinda Howell, Chief Market Development Officer from UTS:INSEARCH,
the pathway college to the University of Technology Sydney
, spoke at the International Career and College Counseling Conference (IC3), held recently in Mumbai, on the importance of pathways. The Conference brings together school principals, college counselors and university representatives who are leading reform in counseling and admissions practices in the higher education community.
“The concept of pathways is not widely understood in India, while it has had between 10 and 20 years of development in countries such as Canada and Australia. Pathways can offer students a strong educational link between school and university. A well-designed diploma pathway program uses curriculum equivalent to the first-year of university study, and includes additional educational supports to scaffold and accelerate students’ knowledge and skill development.”
As well as offering strong academic delivery, pathways should be aiming to address a holistic view of student welfare to prepare students to flourish in the university environment.
“This means understanding that students are still developing their learning and study skills, making new friends, and should participate in social, cultural and sporting activities,” said Ms Howell.
For many young people, their university preparation or pathway program is their first time living away from home. UTS:INSEARCH offers options to ease the transition, such as accommodation on a dedicated floor in local student housing which builds a friendly and safe community, or a HomeStay experience which involves living with an Australian family.
“We would like to encourage educators, principals, parents and students to consider the options international pathways can offer for Indian students seeking to gain entry and achieve success in global university programs,” said Ms Howell.