India is set to quadruple its foreign student’s intake and aims to host 2,00,000 visiting students, by 2023. In the last few years, China emerged as a study destination competing the US, the UK, Australia, and Canada. Now India, the second largest sender for overseas education after China, is positioning itself as a major education hub in Asia, eyeing the Asian and African students looking for cost-effective education.
FInd about the future of learning
Students from Bhutan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Ethiopia, DR Congo, Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Angola, Cameroon come to India to pursue degree courses, while those from Cameroon and Bangladesh come for specialised short-term certificate programmes and English certification courses, says Ashok Daryani, president, International Relations, Sharda University and Group.
For China’s Fu Jiaqi, an international student of Lovely Professional University (LPU), it was the IT boom and the prospects of a fulfilling IT carrier that drew her to India.
FU zeroed in on her university’s Bsc Computer Science programme after scouring hundreds of websites.
Feedback from senior students of her country also helped in the decision-making. For Fu, the point was to seek a good institution in India and while she was aware of the IITs and IIMs she chose a private player. “Government institutions do not have the proper infrastructure or support mechanism to handle international students.”
For Sudeep Pandey from Nepal pursuing MSc in Plant Pathology from Gandhi Krishi Vignan Kendra (GKVK), University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS) Bengaluru, it was the practical orientation and highly facilitated lab work that drew him to GKVK.
“Our office has an all-encompassing role, handholding students from the time they enroll,” says Aman Mittal, head of International Relations, LPU.
“Our job does not end even after the students graduate as we reconnect with the through alumni reunions in countries including Singapore, Australia, Bhutan, Zambia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and more,” he adds.
Dealing with the bureaucratic process is one of the challenges foreign students face while taking to India. Making rounds of FRRO (Foreigners Regional Registration Office) for residential permit, rejection and rent hike while looking for accommodation and language barrier can get tough for those coming from foreign shores. Since English is not the first language of most students coming to India but it is mandatory to pursue courses in English, many students undertake intensive English courses of 3-12 months duration before starting the course.
Foreign students feel Indian education gives importance to practical exposure and has a better evaluation system. For Nigeria’s Mattew I Onoja, a second-year student at Sharda University, the varsity’s credit-based system helps him plan studies in India and abroad.
A mix of cultural festivals and fairs further adds to foreign students ‘ feel-good factor. “With an elaborate induction programme where new students are told not just about university’s systems but also Indian culture, we feel we are not alone amidst a great diversity,” says Fu.