By Shivani Verma
Bengaluru: From Nobel Prize winning physicist, C.V Raman to Aryabhatta who introduced the concept of zero to the world, India used to be a hotbed for academicians. However, despite such achievements, India remains out of choice for foreign students.
“Study in India” Government’s megaproject Study in India scheme of India was launched under the aegis of the Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD) in collaboration with the Ministry of External Affairs in April 2018. The government hoped to attract 1.5 lakh to 2 lakh international students by 2022, soon after the launch.
“Even if India has the potential to become an educational superpower, the lack of prestige amongst its universities and poor living standards for expats are huge drawbacks when it comes to choosing an international education experience. In more detail, no Indian university is within the top 300 universities in the world. Further, there are fewer than 30.000 expats working there who have widely reported India is not a great place for foreigners,” a student Albert Garcia who is from Spain and is pursuing MSc in supply chain management from University College Dublin said.
“Constant news on human rights abuses, harassment to tourists and the perception of a sexist society are definitely significant barriers when it comes to attracting international talent. Not only India needs to invest in the reputation of its educational institutions, following the example of China in the past 15 years. But it also needs to step up in social terms for the country to aspire, to gain a position within the top educational hubs,” he added.
The All India Survey on Higher education (2018-19) says the total number of foreign students enrolled in higher education is 47,427 and they come from 164 different countries across the globe.
The All India Survey on Higher education (2014-15) (AISHE) data states the total number of foreign students enrolled in higher education during that time in India was 42,293.
Currently, India is home to about 47,427 international students, which accounts for just 1percent of global student mobility. There is only an increase of 5,134 enrollments after the launch of this program.
“India doesn’t promote their education much worldwide, which is one of the reasons why there’s no awareness of the education system and the opportunities a foreign student can have. Also, the employment rate is very low in comparison to European countries,” Raquel Perez, who is pursuing MSc from ISC Paris Business School, France, said. “Security is the main problem and being a woman I would not feel safe in India. Cases like Nirbhaya and Hyderabad rape cases have deteriorated the image of India in general.”
Saleh Al-Awlaqui who is from Yemen and is pursuing graduation in computer science from Dublin Business School said, “. “I was looking forward to pursuing my degree from outside Yemen and India was in my options but unemployment and lack of job opportunities made me stick to Dublin.
The ‘Study in India’ program’s primary objective is to target foreign students by branding India as an attractive education destination. Under the previous Government framework, the provision of 10-15 percent supernumerary seats for foreign students was there. ‘Study in India’ program would target the foreign students to be admitted as per this provision, which would not have any adverse impact on the number of seats/ admission of Indian students.
“We are trying our best to attract as many students as we can. We have also proposed reforms in the existing Study in India scheme to attract more Asian and African students. We have introduced the IND-SAT exam to provide scholarships to foreign students to come and study in India. We are expecting an improvement in the number of foreign students,” the Ministry of Human Resource Development spokesperson told The Softcopy.
“I could not gain much information about India in China in terms of culture or universities. I came to Ireland because University College Dublin (UCD) has collaborated with my home university and I gained a lot of Irish cultures while I was studying in China. Another reason for me is that instead of studying in another Asian country I prefer to experience some totally different cultures in Europe,” said Zitian Xiang, who is from China and is studying in Dublin.
The Government had approved an expenditure of Rs. 150 crores for the ‘Study in India’ program for two years 2018-19 and 2019-20 which will be primarily for brand promotion activities.
One of the objectives of the Study in India is also to increase the global ranking of India as an educational destination. It also aims to reduce the export-import imbalance in the number of international students.
Thip Kaewprasit, a former student at Christ College Bangalore who is from Thailand said, “I faced faculty discrimination.”
“There should be more awareness from their part to treat us in the same fashion as their students are treated. Also, there should be more awareness about the Indian education system as many people aren’t even aware of it,” she added.