'Affordable' India woos foreign students

'Affordable' India woos foreign students

Smriti Irani lists advantages of country's technical education

'Affordable' India woos foreign students
India on Monday embarked on a mission to position itself in the eyes of foreign students as an “affordable destination” for quality higher education.

The move included showcasing some of its best higher educational institutions and recent initiatives to improve standards of universities and colleges in the country.

“India is an affordable destination for high-quality education,” Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Smriti Irani said here on Monday, while addressing the inaugural session of a two-day conference organised by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) on the topic “higher education in India for foreign students.” She highlighted various initiatives taken so far to improve the quality and standards of higher educational institutions and told the delegates participating from various countries that India will hold an entrance test for foreign students in eight countries for admissions to premier engineering colleges including Indian Institutes of Technology from 2017.

“Recognising the need to increase the inflow of foreign students, the IIT council took a unanimous decision to ensure that in 2017 students from eight nations, including Saarc nations, would be allowed to sit for IIT-JEE (Advanced) exam,” she added.

The outreach was being made so that meritorious (foreign) students, who seek no financial support, can avail affordable technical education in India, she added.

Though the foreign students will be admitted to IITs and other engineering colleges on the basis of their performance in the JEE-Advance, they will not be entitled to subsidised tuition fee available to Indian students, official sources told Deccan Herald.

Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, Ethiopia are among the eight countries where the ministry is considering to hold the JEE-Advance from 2017. “However, a final decision on the countries where the test could be held is yet to be taken,” they added.

The two-day conference is an effort by the ICCR to understand how education in India can be made more “holistic and positive” experience for foreign students.

Addressing the session, Smriti Irani said the first all-India ranking of Indian institutes will be announced on April 4, suggesting that the Ministry of External Affairs officials may “leverage this data” to reach out to foreign students.

“Over 3,600 higher education institutes have provided their data for these rankings," she added.

The conference has been organised to deliberate on increasing foreign students’ intake months after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced 50,000 scholarships for African students over the next five years for research and study in subjects including management, Indian philosophy, religion, medicine, literature, drama and arts, and yoga.

“Cultural diplomacy has been at the forefront of her ministry's engagement with the MEA for too long.

The prime minister now has given an added push through education diplomacy. I am hopeful this educational diplomacy is a part of diplomacy that will take us from strength to strength in the times to come,” Irani said.

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