Sunday, August 31, 2014

Hyderabad sends more students to US than Delhi, Mumbai

If the American educational system were to seek a mascot to advertise itself, a nerdy Indian grad student or geeky Chinese undergraduate would be ideal; a combination of the two would be perfect. It is no secret that tens of thousands of students from these two countries covet the American degree, as much as US institutions crave for the students (because of the money, brains, and prestige they bring), which is why American varsity officials often go on expeditions to these catchment areas. In a sense, it has long been thought to be a symbiotic relationship. Foreign students pour in billions of dollars into the U.S economy to get a prized American degree.

Whether their home countries benefit for it or whether the US does is something that is still up in the air. From all accounts, more than 50 per cent of the students return to their home country with a newly-minted American degree, but a large number stay back in the US. If corporate America has its way, every single science graduate should stay back, a Green Card or a work visa stapled to his degree. Increasingly, in a globalized world, they also go back and forth. To what extent and how well this business operates has long sought to be extracted and extrapolated from reports such as Open Doors, an annual study tracks the inflow of foreign students to the United States.

But the Washington DC think tank Brookings Institution has produced a report that builds significantly on Open Doors with a kind of granular data that provides arresting details --- and some correction to long held perceptions --- including which countries and cities the students come from, how much they spend for their degree etc. For instance, it has long been thought Indians student population in the US is approximately 100,000 (based on Open Doors study) but the Brookings report, based on data from 2008 to 2012, puts the number of Indian F-1 visa holders (for full-time students) at 168,034, ranking it next to China at first place (out of 74 countries) with 284,179 F-1 visa holders. South Korea came third at about 110,000 F-1 holders. Saudi Arabia is a surprise 4th with 53,000 and neighboring Canada 5th at 51,000.

From India's own neighborhood, Bangladesh (5,319) has almost as many students in the US as Pakistan (curiously low at 5,767). But the real surprise is Nepal, which got nearly 20,000 F-1 visas, compared to Sri Lanka's 4,113. Another surprise is Iran with 9611 F-1s compared to Israel's 4,588. Whether this speaks to great Israeli universities, poor institutions in Nepal, or the drive of its students, is hard to say. The Pakistani count seems surprisingly low but it is entirely possible they are being more tightly screened for visas. On the other hand, Saudi Arabia sent 53,528 students to the US in the same 2008-2012 time frame (fourth highest in the list of countries after China, India, and South Korea) and who can forget that among the perpetrators of 9/11 were Saudis?

Overall, the report says, a record 21 percent of the world's students who are going abroad for their education came to the United States. Over the five-year period of 2008 to 2012, foreign students contributed $21.8 billion in tuition and $12.8 billion in living costs to 118 metro areas that are each home to at least 1,500 students. Just 45 percent of these students, however, extended their visas after graduation and got jobs, under the optional practical training (OPT) program, in the regions where they studied. OPT allows foreign students on F-1 visas to work between 12 and 29 months after they graduate from a US higher educational institution.

A closer scrutiny of Indian student traffic flow provides some remarkable insights. For instance, Hyderabad (26,220) was issued the most F-1 visas from India (nearly 30,000 when combined with Secunderabad). This is almost as much as Mumbai (17,294), Pune (5,551) and Delhi (8,728) combined. In fact, there are more students in the US from undivided Andhra Pradesh (by a long shot when you add the 2,000 each from Vijayawada and Visakapatnam) than any other state in India. Chennai (9,141) and Bangalore (8,835) are running neck and neck in F-1 recipients, with Ahmedabad and Vadodara together accounting for about 9,000 F-1s. Incidentally, Seoul and Beijing topped the list of cities issued the most F-1 student visas with around 50,000 each.

The outlier here is Kolkota, which was issued only 3,881 F-1s, but here is the twist in the tale. While a majority of students from other Indian cities came to the US for their master's degree, a large percentage (44%) of Kolkatans came to the US for their doctorate. For Hyderabad, the comparable percentage of doctoral students was only 5 per cent, for Chennai 14 per cent. This would suggest a sound master's program in West Bengal that keeps students at home before they emplane to the US for their Ph.D.

The study also shows that two-thirds of foreign students are studying STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) or business, management and marketing fields, compared to 48 percent of US students. STEM preference is particularly pronounced among Indians students. Of the 168,000 F-1 visa holders from India, an amazing 70 per cent came to the US to study STEM subjects, nearly 80 per cent of them in masters program and 11 per cent at the doctoral level. Only around 8,000 students came to study social sciences.

Here's the break up of what Indian students studied in the US between 2008 and 2012: Engineering (53,153); Computer and Information Sciences and support services (42,092); Business, Management, Marketing, and related support services (31,796); Biological and Biomedical Sciences (8,837); and Health Professions and related programs (8,672).

Overall, Indian students ponied up more than $ 5 billion in the 2008-2012 period to study in the US ($ 3.1 billion in tuition fees and $ 2 billion in living expenses) with students from Hyderabad and Mumbai coughing up $ 1.3 billion ($ 650 million from each city). How much --- or what --- India gets out of it (besides foreign exchange remittance from those who decide to stay on in the US) is an area that merits greater attention.

Lapping up this munificence from foreign students are 118 metro areas in the US that the Brookings report assessed as having the largest numbers of foreign students while measuring their monetary contributions to their economy. New York and Honolulu had the highest percentage (75 percent) of graduates working for a local employer. Seattle, Miami, and Las Vegas also ranked high for students who remained in their areas to work after graduating.

While large population centers, such as New York and Los Angeles, have high numbers of foreign students, small or mid-sized metro areas that are home to large universities have the most significant concentrations of these students within their broader student bodies. Ithaca, New York (home to Cornell University) tops the list with 71.2 F-1 students per 1,000, compared to 22.4 for the nation as a whole. Boston, Massachusetts and Santa Barbara, California also rank at the top of the list.

University of Southern California, Columbia University in NYC, and University of Illinois in Urbana Champaign (UIUC, which is jocularly referred to as University of Indians and University of Chinese) were the magnets for foreign students, each taking in around 13,000 F-1 visa holders. NYU, City University of New York (CUNY) and Purdue hosted around 11,000 each.

While this data suggests that foreign students typically flock to metropolises (New York region alone hosted more than 100,000 foreign students; LA and Boston more than 50,000 each), the foreign student inflow is also a boon to small university towns such as Lafayette and Bloomington in Indiana and Durham and Chapel Hill in North Carolina.

The Brookings report makes no secret of the fact that it sees the foreign student inflow as an economic bonanza for the US that Washington and local metropolises should capitalize on. The report offers a two-pronged approach to help metropolitan leaders realize the full benefit of foreign students' local presence. These include: Leveraging foreign student connections with their home communities abroad to facilitate and deepen economic exchange.

"Foreign students," it says, "offer valuable knowledge of the business, cultural and societal norms of their city and country of origin and so can serve as a bridge to help globalize local economies." It also advocates retaining foreign student skills by (1) developing programs to connect graduates to employers located in the school's metropolitan area, (2) helping local employers obtain the necessary visas for foreign graduates with in-demand skills and (3) advocating for immigration reform to make more visas available for graduates who want to stay in the US.

"Increasingly, US colleges and universities are educating the world's business, scientific and political leaders of the future. Metropolitan leaders should capitalize on this trend to strengthen their position in the global marketplace by giving local employers access to a larger pool of workers with valuable skills and knowledge already living in their areas," says Neil Ruiz, associate fellow for the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program and author of the report.

Source: The Times of India, August 31, 2014
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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Premji set to buy 10% in Manipal Education for Rs. 9 billion

India's richest tech billionaire and Wipro boss Azim Premji is set to invest Rs. 9 00 crore ($150 million) for over 10% stake in Manipal Global Education Services, people directly familiar with the matter said.

PremjiInvest, the proprietary investment fund of the Wipro chairman, is in the final lap of deal making, which could be announced soon. This will be the single largest investment by Premji, 69, with estimated net worth of $16 billion, and broader interests in the education sector.

Manipal Global, the for-profit education arm of the Bangalore headquartered Manipal Education and Medical Group (MEMG), operates a string of overseas campuses stretching from the Caribbean to Malaysia. India's largest education services company also operates test and assessment centers, skills development platforms and employment exchanges.

Ranjan Pai led MEMG consists of Manipal Global Education Services, Manipal Hospitals, stem cell company Stempeutics Research Private Limited and Manipal Servicecorp Facility Management.

PremjiInvest with a corpus of nearly $1.6 invests in both public and private equity, structured instruments and in real estate, which is typical of the large family offices globally. Three years ago, Premji pledged to donate $2 billion to improve universal education in India. He transferred a part of his Wipro shares to Azim Premji Trust, which runs a foundation and a university.

Interestingly, this will be Premji's return to Manipal Global after the promoter bought back shares of him and three other investors — IDFC, Capital International and Infosys founder NR Narayana Murthy's Catamaran Ventures — for Rs. 14.5 billion some 18 months ago. Sources cited earlier said Premji was not a seller but exited along with other investors who wanted to cash out with an 18% annualized return.

Senior officials at Manipal Global and Premji Invest declined comment on the story citing a policy of not confirming or denying market speculations. An emailed query to PremjiInvest Chief Investment Officer Prakash Parthasarathy remained unanswered.

Manipal Global had a consolidated revenue of Rs. 11.7 billion and operating profit of Rs. 3.51 billion in FY13. The financial numbers for the last fiscal could not be obtained immediately. The company operates a string of foreign university campuses in Antigua, Dubai, Malaysia and Nepal. Antigua is among the biggest campuses in the Caribbean, admitting more than 600 medical students every year, with $140,000 in fees for a five-year course.

Source: The Times of India, August 26, 2014
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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Tatas give IIT Bombay Rs. 950 million for Design Centre

The Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IIT-B) has received Rs. 950 million, the largest donation in its history, to set up a centre to develop hi-tech products and solutions for consumers and industry that lie at the bottom of the economic pyramid.

On the lines of the Tata Center for Technology and Design at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), US, the Tata group has granted Rs. 950 million to IIT-B for a period of five years to develop design and engineering principles suited to the needs of people and communities with limited resources. An MoU has been signed by both the parties, and the Centre at IIT-B, also called Tata Center for Technology and Design (TCTD), has started functioning from July. On August 20 and 21, fellows from MIT and IIT-Bombay will come together for a brainstorming session under the aegis of the centre.

The focus of the Centre would be to develop technology-driven solutions appropriate for the bottom sections of the consumer and business base, with a special focus on India, and development of human resources trained in identification of unmet technological needs, their solutions, and their placement in the market.

Speaking to the TOI, Prof. Devang V Khakhar, Director, IIT-Bombay, said the Centre would focus on "frugal engineering". What we are going to do here is to come up with products which are high in technology but affordable. Students and faculties from all departments can participate as this is a virtual Centre," he said. "The Centre will support research work for postgraduate and PhD scholars, although there is no bar for undergraduate students," added Khakhar.

Tata Fellows for the Centre have already been appointed. The Centre envisages designing items not only for consumers belonging to the low income group, but products like medical devices too. The institute has also singed an MoU with MIT to work on some projects under this Centre, informed Khakhar.

The Centre will have a three-pronged activity structure comprising research, academic and administrative activities. The areas identified for research would broadly include — water, healthcare, affordable housing, energy and environment, food and agriculture, human-powered mobility devices, education and crafts development. The Centre will also give students exposure to design, innovation and entrepreneurship by way of course work, laboratory work and projects. A year-long master's dissertation will focus on development of a high-value product/process for targeted consumers. Doctoral students enrolled with other disciplines will be able to pursue research in projects undertaken at the Centre.

Source: The Times of India, August 20, 2014
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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

IIM-Calcutta first to enter elite B-schools club

The Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta (IIM-C) is now in the elite list of 716 B-schools globally as Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) announced the new members of this exclusive club. With this IIM-Calcutta becomes the first IIM to receive this accreditation, which is considered to be the gold standard of by B-schools and less than 5% of the global business programme being accredited by it. IIM-C is only the third Indian B-school to be accredited by AACSB -- two other are Indian School of Business, Hyderabad and T A Pai Management Institute, Karnataka.

In all there are 716 B-schools across 48 countries which have received AACSB accreditation. Apart from AACSB, the other global accreditation bodies are Association of MBA (AMBA), European Quality Improvement System (EQUIS). IIM-Calcutta is already accredited by UK's AMBA.

Terming this as a big opportunity for the B-school, Saibal Chattopadhyay, Director, IIM-Calcutta said: "We have been waiting for this for a long time. To be assessed globally and then be a part of the exclusive club of 716 B-schools is a great opportunity. Therefore this is a major breakthrough for us."

IIM-Calcutta underwent five years of assessment by AACSB, and based on 21 standard assessments of which 19 are applicable to the B-school, as it don't offer any undergraduate programme, has been given accreditation for a period of five years.

"We all like to be a global player, to have international faculty and students and with this accreditation we will be a part of the top international network of B-schools. What helped us is that we think differently in our continuous improvement. We were assessed on our international research and their relevance, faculty and student quality, infrastructure, financial stability, among other. With this accreditation our responsibility has become many manifold. And indeed this is a huge opportunity for us to go global," added Chattopadhyay.

All accredited schools must go through a peer review process every five years in order to retain their accreditation. AACSB International also announced that ESPAE-Graduate School of Management (Ecuador), National Central University (Chinese Taipei), Newcastle University (United Kingdom) and the University of Canterbury (New Zealand) have earned accreditation in business, and Northumbria University (United Kingdom) has earned accreditation in accounting.

Source: The Times of India, August 19, 2014
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Saturday, August 16, 2014

Indian Institute of Science among top 500 in Chinese world ranking

Indian Institute of Science (IISc) is the lone Indian institution to bag a spot in the top 500 in an annual ranking of global educational institutions dominated by American universities, according to a list released by a Chinese organisation on Friday.

Bangalore-based Indian Institute of Science, conceived as a 'Research Institute' by Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata, in the final years of the 19th century, has been placed in the world rank category of 301-400 by the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU).

IISc, ranked as the top Indian university, was placed in the category of 151-200 in the Natural Sciences and Mathematics category, similar to the previous year's rankings. In the academic ranking of world universities for Chemistry, the premier institute has been placed in the category of 51-75 global ranking, similar to the US-based Johns Hopkins university and Carnegie Mellon university.

In the subject-wise academic ranking of Computer Science, Indian Statistical Institute features along with IISc in 101-150 category, similar to King's College, London.

In the ARWU rankings, Harvard University followed by Stanford and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are ranked at first, second and third positions respectively.

ARWU ranks universities on the basis of several indicators of academic and research performance, including alumni and staff winning Nobel Prizes and Fields Medals. Highly cited researchers, papers published in Nature and Science, papers indexed in major citation indices, and the per capita academic performance of an institution are also factors which play a vital role.

Source: The Times of India, August 16, 2014
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Wednesday, August 06, 2014

70% of international engineering students in US from India, China

Seventy per cent of international students studying engineering in the US are from China and India, according to a new report. "SEVIS by the Numbers," a quarterly report of international students studying in the US, was released yesterday by the student and exchange visitor program (SEVP), part of the US immigration and customs enforcement's (ICE) homeland security investigations (HSI).

As of July 8, there were 966,333 international students enrolled in nearly 9,000 US schools using an F (academic) or M (vocational) visa. This marks a nearly five per cent decrease from April, primarily due to graduation rates, but an eight percent increase when compared to July 2013.

The July report included a special section that focuses on China. According to it, seventy-five percent of all international students were from Asia, with 28 per cent from China. As of July 8, there were 270,596 international students from China studying in the US. The majority of these students studied in California, New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Illinois.

The report further said that nearly 350,000 international students pursued STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) coursework in July. Sixty-nine per cent of international students studying STEM fields were male. Eighty-five per cent of international students studying STEM coursework are from Asia.

Seventy per cent of international students studying engineering are from China and India. More international students study engineering than any other STEM field of study, it said. South Korea and Vietnam had the greatest percentage decrease in students studying in the US at eight per cent and seven per cent, respectively, when compared to April figures.

The top 10 countries of citizenship for international students included: China, India, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam, Mexico and Brazil. The University of Southern California, Purdue University, the University of Illinois, New York University and Columbia University rank one through five among US schools with the most international students.

The report is based on data from the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), a web-based system that includes information on international students, exchange visitors and their dependents while they are in the US.

A school must be SEVP-certified before it can enroll international students. SEVP monitors approximately one million international students pursuing academic or vocational studies (F and M visa holders) in the US and their dependents. It also certifies schools and programmes that enroll these students.

Source: The Times of India, August 6, 2014
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Government to engage students in policy making in education sector

Serious about engaging with the youth in government, the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has announced an internship programme, MHRD Internship Scheme 2014, for undergraduates, post graduates and research students. The programme will give interns an opportunity for active engagement with policymaking in the field of education.

The idea is to involve young talent in government, especially in the education sector where they are the most important stakeholders. For the government, it provides an opportunity to bring in a fresh perspective into policymaking and implementation of initiatives of the sector. For the young interns, this programme will give them a close view to the functioning of the government. The programme could lead to generating of useful empirical analysis, briefing reports and policy papers by the interns.

The programme is open to all Indian citizens, enrolled in a recognised university or institution in India or abroad. Undergraduate students should have completed at least two years of a three or four year programme, or three years of a five year integrated programme to be eligible to apply.

There will six batches of interns in a year. As of now, the ministry is offering six internship positions in each batch, each of two months duration, which could be extended up to six months, but only if required. A selection committee will constituted to review all the applications and make make the final list of students who make the cut. While students will be able to indicate their work area preference, the selection committee will have the final say. The interns will be attached to the bureaus dealing with their work area. The scheme will be rolled out from October 1.

Source: The Economic Times, August 6, 2014
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Monday, August 04, 2014

Panel set up to prepare UGC recast plan

The Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has set up a committee headed by former University Grants Commission (UGC) Chairman Hari Gautam to provide a blueprint for restructuring the higher education regulator as it addresses challenges of a growing sector. ET had reported on June 3 that HRD Minister Smriti Irani had made restructuring and revamping of the UGC one of her top priorities and that the ministry was doing the required spadework for it. Irani's focus is in keeping with the BJP's poll promise of restructuring the body to transform it into a Higher Education Commission.

The transformation will be effected by amending the UGC Act. The higher education sector in India has emerged as one of the largest in the world in terms of number of institutions and the second largest by number of students with nearly 28 million students in 726 universities and about 38,000 colleges.

The gross enrolment ratio in 2011-12 was 20.4 per cent, which included students studying through the distance mode. Besides Hari Gautam, the members of the committee are CM Jariwala, former head and dean of law at Banaras Hindu University; Kapil Kapoor, former pro-vice chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University and the joint secretary of higher education in the ministry who is the member secretary of the committee.

The committee will evaluate the performance of the UGC in coordinating and determining standards of education in universities, conducting an audit of its regulatory reach and identifying its strengths and weaknesses. The evaluation will also be conducted at the level of the UGC's regional offices and the inter university centres. The relationship and the functioning of the UGC vis-a-vis other regulatory authorities like the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) in the higher education sector will also be looked at. A similar assessment will be made of the regulatory space that the UGC has. There is a sense that the regulatory functions of the UGC have taken a back seat when compared with its grant-giving exercise.

The committee will recommend changes to ensure that there is a balance between the two. Transparency in functioning, revamping the grant-disbursing function to introduce effectiveness and efficiency for timely utilisation of grants and the introduction of performance-based system of release of funds in line with the Rashtriya Ucchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (National Higher Education Campaign) are other aspects the committee will look at.

The commission's grants-disbursal functions have been rather limited, as not all universities and colleges, particularly those set up by states, are eligible for UGC grants. "The government's scheme to augment universities and colleges in the state sector, Rashtriya Ucchatar Shiksha Abhiyan, has dented the importance of the UGC's grant disbursal function," an official said.

The growth of the sector with private players and the possible entry of foreign education institutions have meant that the UGC would need to expand its regulatory functions. The commission was formally set up by an Act of Parliament in 1956, and is the statutory body for the coordination, determination and maintenance of standards of university education in the country.

However, it had already been in existence since 1952 at which time the function of allocating public funds to central universities and other universities was entrusted to the UGC. Over the years, despite the changes in the higher education sector, the Commission's emphasis has continued to be on its grant-disbursal functions.

Source: The Economic Times, August 4, 2014
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Sunday, August 03, 2014

No takers for women-only engineering colleges in Tamil Nadu

As society becomes less rigid, gender-specific institutions are seeing a setback, particularly in higher education. Take, for instance, the enrolment rate in women's engineering colleges in Tamil Nadu. Of the nearly 38,000 women who have sought admission to engineering colleges through the single window counseling this year, very few have sought enrolment in women-only colleges.

Fifteen of the 18 women's engineering colleges in the state have more than 100 seats vacant each, with just two days to go for the end of the general academic counseling process. One college, with a seat intake that can only be termed ambitious at a time when even co-educational engineering institutions with good brand value are not seeing good enrolments, has more than 450 seats vacant. Those in the know said the institutions have been able to secure very few seats, usually in the single digit.

"Even in rural areas, it is only the parents who want their daughters to study in women-only institutions. It does not matter whether the institution is co-educational or exclusive to women. What matters is the quality of the institution and how it has adapted to the times," said educational consultant Moorthy Selvakumaran.

The trend has held steady for the last couple of years. Poor patronage of the colleges, once thought novel, has resulted in some being closed down or converted to co-educational institutions. Over the last five years, the number of women's engineering colleges has decreased by 25%, while the number of women's engineering colleges that have taken part in the single window counseling has dropped from 24 in 2009 to 18 this year.

This, despite the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) giving concessions to start women-only technical institutions. AICTE approval process handbook said that while the processing fee of a non-minority co-educational institution is Rs. 500,000, the fee for a women's engineering college is only Rs. 300,000. Conversion of a women-only technical institution to a co-educational college or closure of the college will cost another Rs. 300,000. Still, managements are willing to pay the amount and take up one of the options because they have to fill seats.

Academics say women prefer co-educational institutions because they feel the need to accustom themselves to working alongside the opposite gender. "We don't want to feel awkward and nervous and waste time getting used to male co-workers when we should be focusing on our career," said Nandini Sivaraman, who lists this among the other reasons she chose a co-educational college to pursue a computer science and engineering degree. She said that if not in the next four years she would never learn to be comfortable around men, because she was an only child with no male cousins and she studied in a girls' school for 12 years.

Source: The Times of India, August 3, 2014
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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Student visa rules tightened by UK government

From November, it will be even more difficult for Indian students to travel to UK for education. Britain on Tuesday announced a fresh crackdown on student visas as further measures of the Immigration Act came into force. From November, tougher rules will be imposed on universities and colleges who sponsor international students to study in the UK.

Currently, educational institutions can enjoy Highly Trusted Sponsor status if the Home Office rejects 20% or fewer student applications as being invalid. But that figure will be cut to 10% in November after a three-month grace period for colleges and universities to re-examine and improve their admissions procedures. If more than one in 10 applications are being rejected from November onwards, educational institutions could lose their right to bring in new students from overseas. The change will ensure all institutions are playing their part in administering immigration rules to enjoy the benefits of bringing in foreign students.

The numbers of students to all universities coming to the UK from India fell by 38% between 2011 and 2012. It is estimated that the overall value of UK higher education exports to the economy in 2011-12 was around £10 billion. Income from international (non-EU) students generated through their tuition fees in 2012-13 came to £3 billion, which represented around 30% of all tuition fee.

England has recorded a sharp dip in overseas students enrolling in British universities - the first fall in nearly three decades (29 years), thanks to Indians giving it a skip. Data revealed by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) shows that the number of Indian students fell from 18,535 in 2010-11 to 13,250 in 2011-12 and further to 10,235 in 2012-13. 
London is home to over 105,000 international students from 220 nations. 

Home Secretary Theresa May said "We are building an immigration system that is fair to British citizens and legitimate migrants, but tough on those who abuse it or flout the law. The Immigration Act is a landmark piece of legislation that will make Britain a less attractive place for those who come here for the wrong reasons, and will allow us to remove more people when they have no right to remain". May added "We will always act when we see abuse of our immigration system. And that is why we are tightening the rules to cut out abuse in the student visa system".

A recent survey showed that British universities are bending over with scholarships, to attract Indian students into their campuses. The survey of a third of London's universities found that in total an average of Rs. 250 million (£2.5 million) has been awarded to students each year from India and over Rs. 700 million (£7million) over the last three years. The figure could actually be three times higher (over £7 million per year) as just 17 universities in the London University International Partnership (LUIP) took part in the study.

The British Council recently announced the biggest number of scholarships in India ever launched in a year by offering 370 scholarships worth almost £1 million across UK universities. The LUIP Alumni Survey found that 24% and 19% of students in UK hailed from Mumbai and Delhi (NCR), respectively.

The Vice chancellor of Britain's premiere Cambridge University recently warned that Britain's stance on migration is increasingly making Indian students feel unwelcome. Professor Leszek Borysiewicz who has now openly criticized the government's crude numerical targets on immigration warned that "there was an emerging perception, particularly in India, that Britain was not welcoming." According to him, setting a target of 100,000 migrants a year hinders "the true potential benefit that people coming to Britain can actually have".

Source: The Times of India, July 30, 2014
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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Indian students' enrolment in German universities up more than 100% in 5 years

For increasing number of Indians, Germany is emerging a favoured higher education destination overseas. There has been 114% increase in the number of Indian students enrolling for higher education courses there since 2008, according to the latest figures released by the regional office of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).

The number of students enrolled has increased from 3,516 in the 2008-09 academic year to 7,532 in 2012-13. US, UK, Australia and Canada have been the most favoured destinations for Indian students, partly due to the absence of a language barrier. But Germany, which has the fifth biggest Indian student population on campuses, has sought to bridge the gap by introducing courses in English and easing visa norms to allow students to look for jobs there after completion of studies.

Engineering courses were the chosen area of study for nearly half the number (close to 48%), followed by mathematics and natural sciences (19.8%). Information technology (13.8%), and law, economics and social sciences (9.4%) are the other courses sought after by Indian students in Germany.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Franziska Lindhout, Director of the DAAD Information Centre in Chennai, said Germany encourages Indian students to sign up for masters and research in engineering as not many natives show an interest in the discipline. "It's least taken up by those in Germany, and the country needs students in these areas, so Germany is interested in cooperation with Indian technical higher educational institutions," she said.

Lindhout said efforts were being made to internationalise German institutions. "It's no longer a prerequisite to learn German to study there. We invite Indian students to pick up the language to help them adapt better and for jobs, But it is not required to pursue a masters or for the visa procedure. It is part of the internationalization process, and DAAD has been pushing for it," she said.

Germany has also made a conscious effort to woo Indian students by sponsoring initiatives aimed at enabling Indian students to study, carry out research and gain work experience in that country. Since 2009, 46 new co-operation projects have been forged between Indian and German universities. Working and research internships and scholarships are part of the effort. Changes in visa rules to allow Indian students more time to look for employment has also helped increase the number of Indian students headed to Germany. Indians comprise the second largest international student population in Germany, second only to China.

There are not as many undergraduate students from India as those who opt for masters or doctoral degrees in Germany. "There are few English-medium UG courses to choose from in Germany and the school finals in India are not equivalent to that offered in Germany. But, now there are many masters programmes offered in English," said Padmavathi Chandramouli, Information Manager of DAAD centre in Chennai.

As many as 1,324 Indian students and 761 German students have been part of the DAAD exchange programme. Co-operation agreements have been signed between German institutions and the IITs, IIMs, the Department of Science and Technology, and the University Grants Commission. While the country does not offer any scholarships for masters' degrees, its research grants for doctoral programmes in Germany and the bi-nationally supervised doctoral degrees are well known.

Source: The Times of India, July 24, 2014
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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

IIMC, SRFTI and FTII to get national tag

In a move that is likely to give a boost to international collaborations and funding, three premier institutes — Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC), Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute (SRFTI) and the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) — will be awarded status of institute of national importance and the power to award degrees.

The proposals mooted by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B) will give greater autonomy to the institutes is likely to come before the Union Cabinet soon. This will put the institutes in the league of IITs (Indian Institutes of Technology) and AIIMS (All India Institute of Medical Sciences).

Sources said the cabinet notes for SRFTI and FTII had been cleared by the law ministry while the one for IIMC was in the final stages. The proposals were announced by finance minister Arun Jaitley in the Union budget on July 10. Sources said that the three institutes are reputed organizations in the media education sector but could only grant diplomas.

"Our institutes are already well known across the country and the world. With this decision, we will be able to increase international collaborations, award degrees, improve infrastructure and funding for research,'' one source said.

Plans are also afoot to introduce advanced academic programmes in the institute such as MA, MPhil and PhD in IIMC. IIMC is headquartered in Delhi and has five regional centres in Aizawl (Mizoram), Amravati (Maharashtra), Dhenkanal (Odisha), Jammu & Kashmir and Kottyam (Kerala).

The decision is likely to give a significant thrust to film education in the country with both noted institutes being made institutes of national importance. The proposals have been pending for several years now under the UPA regime but sources said the approvals are now likely to come soon. Once approved, the three proposals will require parliamentary sanction.

Source: The Times of India, July 23, 2014
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