Govt launches ‘Study in India’ portal to woo foreign students

NEW DELHI, Apr 18: The Government today launched a portal to project 160 premier universities and institutions of the country, including the IITs and IIMs, as ideal destination for higher education for foreign students.

There are 15,000 seats for the 2018-19 academic session, with 55 per cent of these having fee waiver. The Government aims at having two lakh international students studying in Indian institutions by 2023, the Union HRD Ministry said.

Union Minister for External Affairs, Sushma Swaraj, Minister of State for HRD Satyapal Singh and diplomats from 30 countries were present during the launch of the “Study in India” portal.

“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 Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar in a video message.

Swaraj in her address said, “India needs to 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,” she said.

At present India is hosting around 45,000 international students, which accounts for 1 per cent of the global student mobility.

The “Study in India” launched by the HRD Ministry and aided by the Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Home Affair and Ministry of Commerce will initially target 30 “friendly countries”, ambassadors of which were present at the launch.

The countries are primarily from Asia and Africa and include Nepal, Vietnam, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Thailand, Malaysia, Egypt, Kuwait, Iran, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Rwanda, among others.

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 per cent to 15 per cent 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 — complete fee waiver to the top 25 per cent meritorious aspirants, 50 per cent fee waiver to the next 25 per cent and 25 per cent to the 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  about 55 per 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 official said.

International students will be able to register through the portal and apply in all the 160 institutions in programmes of their choice. (PTI)