Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Government launches 'Study In India' initiative, targets 200,000 foreign students by 2023

Giving a boost to enroll more foreign students in Indian campuses, the government projected 160 premier universities and institutions, including the Indian Institutes of Technology and Indian Institutes of Management, as an ideal destination for higher education on Wednesday.

The government at the launch of the Study in India initiative stated that 15,000 seats are on offer for the 2018-19 academic session, with 55% of these coming with fee waiver. The government is aiming at a two lakh international students in Indian campuses by 2023. Union minister for external affairs, Sushma Swaraj, minister of state for HRD, Satyapal Singh and diplomats from 30 countries were present during the launch.

At present, India is hosting around 45,000 international students, which accounts for 1% of the global student mobility. The Study in India launched by the Ministry of Human Resource Development and aided by the Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Commerce will initially target 30 “friendly countries”, ambassadors of which were present at the launch. The countries include primarily from Asia and Africa, including Nepal, Vietnam, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Thailand, Malaysia, Egypt, Kuwait, Iran, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Rwanda, among others.

“We observed that the number of students coming to India for higher studies had become stagnant and more students were going to countries like Singapore and Australia. That is when we decided to make a single spot information gateway to attract more students, make our visa process hassle free and also offer fee waiver to students,” said Prakash Javadekar, union minister for HRD in a video message.

Swaraj in her address said: “India needs to be brought back to its place of being a knowledge hub. The quest for knowledge has always been fundamental to India's culture and civilisation. We can rightly say that India is one of the very few places in the world where ancient traditions and modernity coexist in harmony. India has been home to knowledge seekers from ancient times when scholars used to visit universities such as Nalanda and Taxila.”

The initiative is similar to the admission exercise conducted by Australia, Malaysia, Singapore and Canada to improve on the share of international students and achieve better global reputation and rankings. Under current provision institutions are allowed to reserve 10% to 15% supernumerary seats for foreign students in higher education. ‘Study in India’, with a sanctioned budget of Rs 150 crore for two years, will promote India as a top destination for higher education and funnel demand in the direction of the supernumerary seats.
To woo meritorious international students, the government has also announced a number of fee waiver schemes -- from complete fee waiver to top 25% meritorious aspirants, 50% fee waiver to the next 25% and 25% to rest of foreign students.

Calling the endeavour a “major step forward” to freeing Indian education market for foreign students, R Subrahmanyam, secretary, higher education, said that about 55% cent of the total seats on offer at these 160 institutes will come with fee waivers. The venture will also include easing of visa requirements for international students.

The portal ‘Study in India’ was also launched on the occasion through the international students will be able to register and apply in all the 160 institutions in programmes of their choice.

Source: The Times of India (Online edition), April 18, 2018

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