Dr. C. Vijayakumar, Director, International Relations, VIT University
If we want to attract students from countries from where we do not have any representation right now, it would be a good idea to offer free seats to students to these countries, as these children will be our ambassadors. But, what is happening right now is that all these seats are being offered to students from neighbouring countries only
Study in India is one of the most ambitious projects of the government along with ‘Make in India’ and ‘Skill India’. The government has set an ambitious goal to quadruple its foreign student numbers to 2 lakhs from the existing 46,000 by the year 2023.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) have jointly announced a slew of measures to attract foreign students to India. The government has also pumped in Rs. 150 crores for the scheme to facilitate internationalization of Indian higher education. It aims to make India a preferred education destination for foreign students and improve the soft power of the country with special focus on the neighbouring countries. It also wants to use it as a tool in diplomacy and rapidly increase the inflow of inbound international students to India through systematic brand-building.
The famed Indian IT sector is not just attracting global talent but also international students to India. Liuyagie, a Chinese national who has come to study Master’s in Computer Science Engineering at SRM Chennai, says, “We came to study here as India’s software and IT sector is very good. We also wanted to study in India as the cost of education here is low and we will get to learn English here along with understanding Indian culture.”
In the initial stage, the programme focuses on attracting international students from select 30-plus countries across South-East Asia, the Middle East and Africa. The scheme envisages participation of select reputed Indian institutes/universities by way of offering seats to the international students at affordable rates, along with fee waivers to meritorious foreign students ranging from 100% to 25%.
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