‘Study In India’, an initiative by the Education Consultants of India (EdCIL), HRD, Government of India.
An initiative called ‘study in India’ was launched recently by the Government of India. The programme is a joint project of the HRD, Foreign Affairs, Home Affairs and Trade and Industry Ministries. It was implemented after the government found that there was a gradual decline in the number of foreign students coming to India, and more students were moving to Singapore and Australia. The government has agreed to make the country’s visa process simpler for international students in order to draw more foreign students, and has included fee-waiver schemes. This year, 160 institutions have provided 15,000 seats.
Most of the foreign students studying in India are from neighbouring countries, said Wahid Ahmed Qazi, former course director at the Indian Institute of Mass Communication. The Indian education system needs to be more interactive, realistic and less theoretical, and in order to attract more international students, even the government recognises the need to innovate, Qazi said. In addition, there are security concerns and some reports of discrimination in the past, particularly against African students, are discouraging,” added Qazi.” The overall trend for incoming students to India reflects the past geopolitical ties and investments made by the Government of India, initially to sustain government-to-government relations, but more recently to improve international educational capability,” said Maria Mathai of MM Advisory Services, an education consultancy.” She said there will be a continued growth trend for incoming international students from South Asia, Africa and the Middle East. “And we can also anticipate a rise in numbers from Thailand, Vietnam and other Southeast Asian countries with the latest announcements of special scholarships for ASEAN [Association of Southeast Asian Nations] countries.”
Zafar Alam, a consultant for education at Global Education Consultancy, Pune, said: “India has taken positive steps to draw more students from abroad.” More recently, India announced scholarships to do PhDs at Indian Technology Institutes for students from ASEAN countries. “The government’s goal is to liberalise the education sector. We hope that in the coming years, the number of international students will increase,” he added. Tariq Zafar, former vice-chancellor of Madhya Pradesh Bhoj Open University, said, “India has opened up top universities to international students.”
Overall, the AISHE survey shows that total Indian higher education enrolment is 37.4 million-19.2 million males and 18.2 million females-with 48.6 percent of the total women now.