Saturday, August 13, 2016

Number of Indian students going to UK, US varsities to go up by 50%

The number of Indian students going overseas for under-graduate and post-graduate studies is expected to increase by 50 per cent over the next five years due to a manifold increase in their family incomes, a placement expert said here on Thursday.

"We see, conservatively, a 50 per cent increase in Indian students going to the US and UK for under-grad and post-grad studies over the next five years. This is strongly supported by the growing disposal income of their families," said Rohan Pasari, Co-founder and CEO of Cialfo, a Singapore-based education technology (edtech).

Cialfo, co-founded by Kolkata-born Pasari and Singaporean Stanley Chia, has placed more than 90 per cent of its students in top universities in the US and 30 top universities in the UK. Pasari noted the Indian students' strong interests in acquiring international education and experiences for placing themselves in the top range of professionals, both in India and globally.

He pointed out the 100 per cent growth seen in Chinese students that entered universities in the US to acquire international education during the early pick up of Chinese economy. "It is the same scenario for Indian students from now," Pasari said.

Cialfo, which is in the midst of A series fund raising, is linking up with Delhi-based educational institutions to help Indian students secure places in the US and UK universities, he said. Cialfo's fund raising is supported by Koh Boon Hwee, former chairman of Singtel, DBS Bank and Singapore Airlines, as well as NRI investor Anand Govindaluri of Govin Capital. "We are expecting a strong market support for the A series funding as our edtech start-up has a potential to tap into the massive pool of students from India, China and South East Asia," Pasari said. "We will now reach more students, tapping into the multi-billion dollar a year opportunity of helping Asian students find their ideal university," he said, estimating the annual Asian student market value at USD 4 billion in the UK and US universities.

Investors estimate the market value of global students in the UK and the US at USD 80 billion a year. Indian students accounted for 4.3 per cent or 21,000 of the 493,570 international students in the UK in 2013-14, according to the British Council. There were 132,888 Indian students out of the 627,306 Asian students in the US in 2014-15, according to the Institute of International Education (IIE). 

Source: The Times of India (Online Edition), August 13, 2016

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

MHRD's new project Vishwajeet aims to put IIT in top league of global rankings

It's called Project VISHWAJEET. The name — which means Conqueror of the Universe — may suggest it is a defence mission, but it isn't that. The project is aimed at catapulting Indian Institutes of Technology to the top league of global academic rankings. 

The game plan is currently being worked on at the Ministry of Human Resources Development. VISHWAJEET will aim to pick the IITs with greatest potential to climb up the global pecking order and then ensure close focus on them, backed with funding, so that they excel on all parameters. 

The IIT Council is set to discuss the plan with all IITs and other stakeholders at a meeting presided over by HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar on August 23. Among a handful of Indian institutes that figure on global listings like QS and Times, IITs are mostly ranked the highest. 

However, their positions on the overall global list aren't very enviable, standing mostly at 200 and below. The Indian Institute of Science was ahead of IITs at 147 in the 2015 QS World University Rankings. Five IITs made it to the rankings in 2015 with IIT-Delhi at 179, IIT-Bombay at 202, IITMadras at 254, IIT-Kanpur at 271 and IIT-Kharagpur at 286. It is expected that IITs among thetop 250 will be selected for Project VISHWAJEET. 

VISHWAJEET will towards identifying on which parameters the chosen IITs may be lagging behind and work in a targeted manner to address the shortcoming. For instance, QS Rankings rates institutes based on six indicators: academic reputation, employer reputation, student-faculty ratio, citations per faculty, international faculty and student ratio. Times Higher Education rankings have a set of similar five performance criteria. Indian institutes typically fall behind on the internationalisation parameters and also academic reputation when seen globally.

Minister Javadekar recently observed that the local institutes were lagging behind on the rankings due to "perception" issues. 

The IIT Council will also look at such associated issues like opening up the IITs to foreign students —a plan that is expected to take off with the JEE 2017 entrance test which will be held abroad as well. Other issues expected to be on the agenda are proposals to bring in a campus recruitment format for faculty to catch the pool of young and new PhD holdersAlso in the works is a proposal to bring in a programme, Prime Minister's Research Fellows, to encourage research at IITs. 

The plan is to select the best of students to take up research, fund and invest in their research work and create an ecosystem for them at the IITs. The move is aimed at as much as retaining the best talent at the local institutes as also boosting research and creating a new faculty pool. 

Special funding will be earmarked for this. Reforms in the M Tech admission system as well as better paid teaching assistantship formulas are also planned. Other topics to be discussed by the IIT Council include setting up of Tinkerers' Labs at all IITs and the conduct of JEE 2017. 

Source: The Economic Times, August 10, 2016

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