Concept of education tourism gaining ground in State

Concept of education tourism gaining ground in State

Imagine a scenario where a group of students from Europe or the United States is on a study tour of Hampi village in Ballari district as part of a short-term course offered by Karnataka University. Or another group of foreign students studying various forms of yoga under a three-month course offered by Mysore University.

As part of the ambitious plan of the State Higher Education department to internationlise higher education, the newly formed Overseas Centre for Foreign Students (OCFS), under the Karnataka State Higher Education Council (KSHEC), is dabbling with the idea of introducing an ‘Education Tourism’ programme in the State.

At a meeting held on November 27 at KSHEC, Bharat Lal Meena, principal secretary, the Department of Higher Education, stressed the need for various initiatives to “bring in a number of benefits, including cross culture integration, both for foreign and Indian
students.”

A statement issued by KSHEC regarding education tourism said: “A good number of potential overseas students are also interested in short-term courses (3-5 months) on Yoga, Sanskrit, aspects of Hinduism, tourism and hotel management, photography, archaeology - Eg: study of ruins of Hampi, Pattadakal. These could be promoted under Education Tourism.”

“In European countries, the concept of education tourism is quite popular where students study about the history and art of various cities. In Egypt, there are students who spend considerable time studying the Sphinx and other historical artefacts. Greece is another example,” said Ramesh Kumar Nanjundaiya, advisor, OCFS, KSHEC.

The idea is still in the nascent stage and while no formal communication has been made to the Tourism department, the OFCS has, however, expressed interest in starting such a programme. While Karnataka has a good number of students from African and West Asian countries, the Higher Education department apparently wants to do more to increase its appeal even among students of developed countries.

Asked for his opinion on the concept of education tourism in the State, Bangalore University vice chancellor B Thimme Gowda said:

“First of all, there is the question of whether there are or will be a good number of foreign students to enrol for such courses. If only a few show interest, then it does not make sense to start them. Then there is also the matter of resources that will have to be mustered for such an initiative,” he said.
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