Education ministry mulling increasing number of international students coming to India for higher studies

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New Delhi, Mar 20 (PTI) The Ministry of Education is deliberating on measures to increase the number of international students coming to India for higher studies, officials said on Saturday.

In a review meeting of the ministry's Study in India Programme with partner institutions Friday, Higher Education Secretary Amit Khare said the criteria for this programme will soon be revised so that more institutions that have the necessary infrastructure and academic quality can join.

'No distinction will be made between private and public institutions in matters of supporting internationalisation,' he said at the meeting.

Study in India is a programme of the government that aims to attract international students to higher education institutions in India. Select 117 institutions are partners under the programme that was launched in 2018. Admissions are merit based and done through a common portal. Around 7,500 students from over 50 countries have come to Indian institutions so far under this programme.

'It is important to create 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,' Khare said.

He 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, 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,' he said. 'Besides this, avenues like networks of families, mentors etc should be developed, who can help the students to socialise 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,' Khare added.

The ministry has also asked institutions that they should consider organising 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.

'We are 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,' Khare said.

'There are plans to take up the issue of allowing internship for international students with the concerned department of the government. Many of the partner institutions pointed out that the absence of internship for international students was a big drawback for any programme of higher studies in India. The ministry will iron out other issues of concern for international students, for example visa issues,he added. PTI GJS ZMN