It is no longer a one-way street–that of Indian students going abroad for higher studies. The trend is reversing. Many foreign students are now making a beeline to India into courses ranging from Engineering to Indian Culture. These international students are mostly from countries of Asia and Africa, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Ethiopia, Fiji, Ghana, Hongkong, Iran, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mauritius, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Saudi Arabia, Syria and some others.
As per recent reports, more than 10,000 foreign students are studying in India. Subjects of study are mostly the graduate and post-graduate courses including arts, science, commerce, education, law and M.Phil apart from the Engineering and IT courses against the quota of seats reserved for overseas students.
Major reasons why they come to India
- India is a land of diversities-in culture, language, customs and religion. Overseas students who find some commonness or affinity of their country with India and wish to study in a subject of study with that affinity as the focus, India is logically one of the best study locations for such students. It is for this reason, a number of students coming here on ICCR scholarships and/or other cultural exchange programs that started as a trickle in the 1950s have now burgeoned to more than 3000.
- India is one of the leading nations with a large number of English speaking people as well as English- as- a-language teaching courses/colleges. So students from China and other countries where teaching and courses on English as a subject is scarce, come to India for basic as well as advanced studies.
- In IT and ITES development and services, with a huge qualified work force employed in the sector, it is natural that India with its IT training expertise in supporting this huge sector, is a fertile ground for education and training too. This expertise also attracts students from countries of emerging economics all over the world for higher studies and training in engineering and technology courses.
- Studies of a fairly acceptable quality standard is also fairly economical and have lower costs as compared to those prevailing in the more advanced countries. This is a big attraction for students from less endowed countries to come here and get educated at nominal costs.
Private Universities like Symbiosis, Manipal Group of Institutions have on their rolls sizeable number of international students on their campuses. More private institutions are following this trend. For ex: The Acharya Group Institutes in Bangalore receive students from across 35 countries, currently numbering more than 700 students.
- Overseas students attend in India diverse courses starting from the Pre-University level to the Masters level Courses on Computer Applications, Business Management, Pharmacy and Engineering , most popular among other courses. Fashion Design and Cinema are some of the sought after courses by the foreign students.
- India has taken many academic initiatives such as the SAARC- India Silver Jubilee Scholarship, incorporated by the Indian government in collaboration with the SAU Scholarship scheme. This covers full tuition waivers, hostel fee waivers as well as a decent living allowance.
- Earlier days the Indian government was worried about the brain drain from the country. Many Indian students who had gone to the U.S. for graduate engineering education, accepted jobs in Silicon Valley rather than returning to their home country. This trend is now changing with improved employment opportunities that exists back home.
- Indian universities are now turning out students of high grade who are being hired from University campuses by MNCs and large Indian companies alike. Quality of education in India has improved for the better. Apart from this,many countries have political and social issues that force parents to send their children to study in India.
- As per recent reports, the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), a Distance Education institution, receives a substantial number of foreign students. It had around a mere 3,000 foreign students in 2005-06 and now the numbers have increased manifold.
- Statistics are impressive: Pune University has around 2,500 students, Manipal University 1,500 students, Delhi University 1200 students and Birla Institute of Technology & Science (BITS), Pilani, about 1000 students. In general, all these point to the growing popularity of Indian colleges and Universities including studies in India.
- To address the problems of foreign students coming to India for higher education, the GOI has constituted a Committee which has suggested measures to ease the admission processes and facilitate their easy entry into the country. This, it is hoped, will ease some irksome procedures and improve the number of foreign students in Indian campuses.
- Given the fact that Indian Universities and Institutes of higher education and research have made a significant contribution in research and development in areas ranging from Biotechnology to Ocean Engineering to Space Technology, many students are also coming for research purposes in these fields as well.
No doubt, our shores are looking increasingly more welcome and attractive for students from others them ever before.