iHED – International Higher Education Dialogue

The three-day iHED conference is a platform for stakeholders and higher education institutions from Germany, India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and Sri Lanka to connect and liaison. The conference aims to discuss the future of international exchange in higher education, share good practices and enables you to connect with other key stakeholders across higher education and research spectrum. This year, France was invited as the guest country.

Conference 2022

The iHED – International Higher Education Dialogue conference took place from 4 to 6 May 2022.

International cooperation, mobility, and exchange in the field of higher education and research have been evolving over the last decades globally. Germany and India have been highlighting internationalisation as the key factor in their current policies and strategies to develop the higher education and research system.

Student mobility, international cooperation, capacity building and rankings still drive the agenda of internationalisation. Topics such as quality of education equity and access are gaining traction in the international discourse.

The conference included:

  • Keynotes
    I. Transnational Education
    by Kevin Van-Cauter, British Council
    II. Philanthropic Funding
    by Dr Kavita A Sharma
  • Panel Discussion: The Role of International Higher Education in Times of Changing Geopolitics
  • Parallel Sessions
    I. Equity and Access
    II. Improving Quality of Higher Education through Ranking
    III. Strategic Partnerships
    IV. Non-Degree Seeking Mobility
  • Parallel B2B Meetings
    The B2B meetings took place using a specially designed online tool.

The following topics were discussed in the parallel sessions

Strategic Partnerships

Developing sustainable and multi-lateral partnerships between institutions

To contribute to the internationalisation strategies of the Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), it is important to have sustainable and long-term partnerships across the globe. This session will focus on how such strategic partnerships contribute to improving the overall quality of teaching and research. Some questions could be: How could multi-lateral partnerships at institutional levels be made more sustainable beyond partnerships that are exclusively managed by individual departments? How do they strengthen interdisciplinary interactions within the participating institutions? How developing a multi-lateral institutional partnership opens new and innovative areas of cooperation between the institutions? How can such partnerships include more than one subject area and/or comprise different levels or scopes of cooperation?

Non-Degree-Seeking Mobility

Fostering internationalisation through short-term stays

Over the last decade short-term programmes have seen an increasing demand among students. Building a coherent system of short-term programmes at home and abroad can be one of the drivers of internationalisation. The forms of non-degree-seeking mobility are multifold. Thematic summer schools, courses with micro-degrees as well as student and faculty exchange based on agreements. The sessions will give an outlook on good practices, the impact and challenges of non-degree-seeking mobility. The following aspects will be addressed: How can innovative international short-term programs contribute and impact the internationalisation of the own institutions? How to deal with recognition of study achievements in exchange programs and crediting regulation for micro degrees? How to finance non-degree seeking mobility between Europe and South Asia using the funding schemes of the EU?

Equity and Access

Enabling international education for all

Recognising and overcoming continual inequities in higher education is one of the most significant challenge facing higher education institutions globally. This session will identify barriers that hinder progress and discuss possible solutions that could promote access to higher education for all. The questions would be: Which groups are most disadvantaged and how have their ‘participation rates’ changed? What steps should policy makers take to make global higher education participation more equitable? Which innovative practices are being followed in higher education and who are the frontrunners? What role does technology play to ensure equity and access?


Improving quality of higher education

Rankings are seen as the quality assurance system that engages the academic community in meeting high quality standards, implementing a continuous improvement process and engaging in quality assurance through internal and external review. There are a few agencies such as Times Higher Education Ranking, Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) and Asian World Ranking of University (AWRU) popularly known as Shanghai Ranking who are involved in ranking of the institutions at the international level.  India has also developed its own ranking system known as National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF). The session highlights: What is the advantage of participating in ranking? How to prepare for participating in the ranking? Which processes should be in place to give the institutions an advantage while being evaluated?

Conference 2021

Take a look at how it went!

Connecting Germany and South Asia

More than 500 representatives of universities, research institutes and funding organisations from Germany, India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and Sri Lanka joined the conference in 2021.

© DAAD India

The conference brought together more than 240 institutions, amongst them 42 from Germany, 172 from India, and 34 from the region. The international conference included focussed sessions, panel discussions and keynotes. More than 300 dedicated B2B meetings took place on the platform where potential cooperation partners engaged and discussed.

Prof. Emanuel Deutschmann, in his keynote “Trends in International Student Mobility: A Long-Term, Global Perspective”, argued that international student mobility has seen tremendous growth and despite this global growth, international student mobility remains highly unequal. His key findings show proximity as the reason for this inequality. Since 1960, students tend to move frequently between short distances upto 5000 kms. He illustrated the most salient trends in the global student mobility network through engaging visualisations and scientific research data.

In his keynote “Democratisation of International Education in India”, Prof. C Raj Kumar talked about the need of global citizenship and global universities to transform societies. He emphasised that instead of a few universities being the ambassadors of internationalisation in India, support must be extended to the other institutions across the region to initiate internationalisation.

The conference had sessions on internationalisation in times of pandemic, the New Education Policy of India (NEP), inbound international student mobility and the role of alumni relations in internationalisation. The call for proposals was published in summers this year and selected speakers presented on the topics.

The conference hosted panelists from Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, and Sri Lanka for a discussion on Internationalisation of Higher Education. During the discussion, the need for more regional cooperation was highlighted.

The conference was concluded with a panel discussion on “The Internationalisation of Higher Education Institutions in 2030”. Prof. Joybrato Mukherjee, President – DAAD very accurately summarised what sets the course of international exchange in the future – networks, digitalisation, and sustainable mobility.

DAAD expresses its thanks to the organising partner Association of Indian Universities, the speakers, panelists, experts and audience for making this conference a success.