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Higher Education & Research


Higher Education and Research


Partnership between University of Hertfordshire and Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai

Strategies for Change

In order to be better prepared for, and to thrive in social networks and work-related arenas which are increasingly diverse, multicultural, interdependent and global, it is essential that all higher education staff, students and campuses model this integration, cohesion and social interaction that underpins their development.

To address this challenge, University of Hertfordshire and Tata Institute of Social Sciences came together to explore the nature of social cohesion, integration and separation, diversity, equality and discrimination experienced by diverse, minority, disadvantaged and under-represented students attending higher education in the UK and India.

Mary Thornton, Project Director from University of Hertfordshire shares her experience on this very interesting collaboration, “In many ways our UKIERI project has required us to live and experience the very subject we are researching and we have learnt a great deal by doing so,

"In many ways our UKIERI project has required us to live and experience the very subject we are researching and we have learnt a great deal by doing so, about ourselves, our students and international research collaborations."

Mary Thornton, Principal Investigator – University of Hertfordshire
about ourselves, our students and international research collaborations. As our networking expands, so too does the learning and commitment of the core team, who work well together, are highly supportive of each other and who all work towards the principle of enhancing equality of opportunity within our diverse, globalised world.”

One of the outcomes of this collaboration has been the formulation of ‘strategies for change’ within the HE sector in both the countries. The fi ndings from the project and the related ‘strategies’ have been widely disseminated within international HE environments through multiple conference presentations, dissemination events and related publications. Some of the ‘strategies’ that were identifi ed have been subject to further research and validation, in terms of their implementation and effectiveness in securing change in the experiences of disadvantaged and under-represented students, for the benefit of both students and staff working in diverse and internationalised HE environments.

These identifi ed ‘strategies for change’ have the potential to enhance cross-cultural and intercultural knowledge, skills and communication amongst graduates and their work-based employability.

The research teams feel that this shared learning has led to enhanced global/transnational understanding of inequalities in education, and how they can be effectively addressed, from an internationalised perspective rather than an ethnocentric/Anglocentric/ India-centric one, thereby enabling fi ndings to be transferable within the international/multicultural arena of globalised HE, and recommendations to be addressed in a trans-national way.

Links between academics in India and the UK have been expanded, not only in the area of educational inequalities but in more general social inequalities and into a diverse range of educational areas related to teacher education and teaching resources. Networks continue to expand and develop, drawing in more people from a wide-range of linked areas and continue to be nurtured through visits, dialogue and collaborations.

This collaboration has had a significant impact through the creation of a substantial evidence base for undesired segregation and negative behaviours and the identifi cation and testing of strategies to challenge them in order to ensure that the essential benefits of cross-cultural learning and enrichment on our globalised campuses is achieved. One of the main dissemination of the project outcomes would be the publication on “Widening participation and Social Cohesion amongst Diverse, Disadvantaged and Minority Groups in Higher Education”, based on conference papers and the collaboration as a whole.