The Indian Ministry of Education is considering measures to increase the number of international students in the country.  Amit Khare, Higher Education Secretary, stated that the ‘Study in India’ programme will soon have revised criteria to drive viability for institutions having the academic quality and infrastructure to join. The announcement came in a meeting with the programme’s partner institutions.

‘Study in India’ programme was launched in 2018 with the aim to attract international students to come to India to achieve their study abroad aspirations. Right now, it has 117 institutes across the country as strategic partners. The programme has currently brought 7500 international students from fifty countries to pursue higher education in India. These institutes offer admissions through a common portal and on a merit-basis.

According to the Ministry, the partner institutions must take steps to create a favourable ecosystem on-campus for international students to ensure that they have a safe, happy, and hassle-free experience besides getting quality academic inputs. They will get financial assistance to encourage the set up of world-class hostels for international students. The aid will be provided under the Champion Services Sector Scheme as a part of the initiative.

Every institution that admits students from overseas must set up an International Students Office as well. The office will offer one-stop support for foreign students from the day they secure admission to the institution. Efforts must be made to develop avenues such as networks of families and mentors to help these students to socialise and feel welcome in the country. The objective is to ensure a pleasant stay and a positive experience while they are here.

Further, the ministry has directed institutions consider orientation programmes for international students at the time of joining. Similar programmes should be organised for the faculty to make them aware of contexts they can pick while teaching these students. The Education Ministry also envisions academic collaborations with international institutions and universities under Twinning, Joint and Dual degrees. UGC is already working on regulations to facilitate student exchange programmes under such collaborations.

Many partners stated that not having an internship for international students is one of the challenges that higher studies programmes face in the country. The ministry plans to facilitate such internships by taking up the issue with the concerned department. They also look ahead to addressing other concerns, such as visa issues for international students coming to India.

The initiatives suggested by the Ministry aspire to make the country an attractive study abroad destination for students across the globe, at par with the globally-leading international destinations.

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