Sunday, February 19, 2012

With education fairs, India woos Sri Lankan students

India is promoting itself seriously as an education destination in Sri Lanka, with a series of initiatives. Three education fairs were organised this financial year as part of a ‘Study in India' campaign, coordinated by the Indian High Commission here.

“India being Sri Lanka's closest neighbour, the travel expenses involved are much less. The culture is almost identical and India offers high quality education at a fraction of cost compared to many other countries,” said Shaik Suleman, General Manager of EdCIL (Educational Consultants India Limited). It is a Government of India Enterprise mandated to promote and develop education in India and abroad.

Finding a seat in a university in Sri Lanka is a tough task for a student for, there are only few universities. According to Sri Lankan government estimates, about 10,000 students go abroad for studies. But this number could be much higher since there is no streamlined manner of gathering their statistics. India hopes to attract at least half of the 10,000 students given its various advantages.

Right now, Australia is the most preferred destination: last year about 2,000 students headed there. The year before, this number was 3,500. The numbers dropped because of the government crackdown on fly-by-night educational institutions, and the introduction of a tougher visa regime. On an average, about 1,500 students head for India. This estimate is based on the number of student visa applications that the Indian High Commission has given out in the past few years.

India has a plethora of recognised professional colleges which could accommodate students from abroad. This has been the focus of all the three exhibitions here, including the latest “Indian Education Fair” held in Colombo from February 17 to19. It showcased over 20 of the most reputed Indian institutions representing more than 100 colleges. The participating institutions offer courses in Science, Medicine, Dentistry, Engineering, Architecture, Business, Economics and Humanities, in addition to Films and Acting.

“India has also increased the number of scholarships by nearly three times, to reach 270 scholarships, and also has highly subsidised self-financing slots, which would be available from the current year,” said Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Ashok K. Kantha. “These scholarships would be funded by India under a grant assistance amounting to 2.5 billion Sri Lankan Rupees, to be spent over a three-year period,” he added.

Source: The Hindu, February 19, 2012

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