The Deakin University of Australia was the first international university to set up an office in India, over two decades ago. The university focuses on improving education and brings gender diversity through digital enhancement. Vice Chancellor & President of Deakin University, Professor Jane den Hollander recently came to India to promote capacity building workshops in sports governance. She also announced scholarships worth over 20 crores for Indian students to study abroad.

In an interview with SheThePeople.TV, Hollander spoke on how the University approaches India. She said, “We see India as one of our main destination countries for two things—to recruit students who wish to have an international education in Australia. Secondly, to research in India as part of giving back to the country from our highly developed research university.”

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At Deakin, Hollander introduced LIVE the future—it focuses on driving the digital frontier in higher education and harnessing the reach of new and emerging technologies in all that it does.

On Encouraging the use of Digital

On her progressive outlook to encouraging the use of digital, she says, “In 10 years, students will still meet, but much of the content for them to learn will be on their phones in a quite sophisticated environment. Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence will have greater space. And then you will meet your peers and teachers to have contestable arguments because, of course, content and facts are googleable. But then the question is how do we use that information to help our community, state or nation? How do we make sure that women have a safe environment without violence? An environment where they can have education and jobs and determine their own destiny.”

“I think these are the things that a young nation like India will definitely have. It has about 50% youth who are female that you have to educate them. Otherwise economically, India will not survive. You cannot ignore 50% of the population in a digital world and expect to survive.”

On having Gender Equity Targets

Hollander monitors women’s representation on recruitment selection panels. She also insists her executives adhere to gender equity targets across faculties, including human resources, finance and IT. For her it is important that young girls learn to code and use a computer device.

“One of our issues is how we keep young girls in schools. And in my opinion, they should do maths and sports so they are healthy. Once the girls get to high school and beyond, one can push for their higher education.”

On women’s education

On women’s education and the difference that she has encountered between the girls in Australia and India, she is of the view that Australia is a small country with only 24Mn people. Over 40% under 65 years of age have a higher education. Whereas in India, the government is very clear about lifting the education of the entire country particularly of the people at the bottom of the pyramid and women.”

“One of our issues is how we keep young girls in schools. And in my opinion, they should do maths and sports so they healthy. Once girls get to high school and beyond, one can push for their higher education.”

One of the most important global issues is maternal health and education of women. If you educate the women, it educates the entire family,” says Hollander.

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