Getting a student visa to the United States is pretty tough, and a British degree is getting hyper-expensive. France now wants to fill that gap, pitching to increase student numbers from the 10,000 projected for next year.
French Ambassador to India, Alexandre Ziegler articulated the plan as he beckoned more students to enrol into French educational institutions: “Come to us. Last year, only 3,000 Indian students came to study in France. It rose to 7,000 this year and will reach 10,000 in 2019. But these are still low numbers, we want to increase it manifold,” he told DH on Wednesday.
In Bengaluru to launch the French Tech community, Ziegler said India, with one of the world’s largest youth population, offered huge opportunities in education partnerships. “We have now invested in 15 centres across India, and organised Knowledge Summits in India and France bringing in institutions, the industry and the private sector,” he explained.
Ziegler indicated another critical linkage: A critical mass of Indian students trained in French institutions could be just the right fit for an already strong Indo-French industrial partnership in multiple fields. An estimated 600 French companies employ 3.70 lakh people. Two hundred of these are in Bengaluru.
On tourism, Ziegler informed that seven lakh Indians visit France every year, and this is expected to double in the next three years. However, tourist inflows into India is relatively low at 40,000, although there are now signs of a growth.