The Ministry of Education has informed that it is deliberating on measures to increase the number of international students coming to India for higher studies.
The changes will be done through ‘Study in India’– a programme being run by the central government aimed to attract international students to higher education institutions in India. Select 117 institutions are partners under the programme that was launched in 2018.
In the move, the Ministry said that no distinction will be made between private and public institutions in matters of supporting internationalization.
In a review meeting of the Ministry’s ‘Study in India’ programme with partner institutions on Friday, Secretary Higher Education Amit Khare said that the criteria for institutions partnering under it will soon be revised so that more institutions that have the necessary infrastructure and academic quality can join the programme.
Under the ‘Study in India’ programme, there is merit based admission through a common portal. Around 7,500 students from over 50 countries have come to Indian institutions so far under this programme.
The government has also recognized the importance of creating a conducive, on-campus ecosystem for the international students, where they not only get quality academic inputs but can also feel safe, welcome, happy and hassle free.
In this regard, the Secretary called upon all partner institutions to set up world class hostels for international students. There is a provision for financial assistance for this under the Champion Services Sector Scheme that supports SII, which can be provided to some institutions.
In addition, the secretary said, there is an urgent requirement of setting up International Students’ Offices in every institution that takes in international students.
“This office should work as a single window support for anything that the international students may need, right from the day they get selected to join the institution,” Khare said.
Besides this, avenues like networks of families and mentors should be developed, who can help the students to socialize so that they feel welcome in the country and have an enjoyable stay here, with memories that they can cherish, and positive experience to share with others.
In addition to this, the Ministry has also asked institutions that they should consider organizing orientation for international students when they join, as well as orientation for the faculty to sensitize them to teach using contexts that these students can relate to.
The Ministry is also looking towards enhanced academic collaborations between Indian and international institutions under Twinning, Joint and Dual degrees with credit transfer mechanism. UGC has already brought out draft regulations in this regard that have currently been put up for stakeholder consultation.
There regulations will give a boost to student exchange programmes and short programmes of one or two semesters
The Ministry has plans to take up the issue of allowing internship for international students with the concerned department of the government.
The Ministry will iron out other issues of concern for international students, for example visa issues.
All institutions have also been asked to activate their Alumni network and use this connect to draw more students to Indian institutions.