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Foreign students do not come to India

by Vijay Garg
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The choice of country and institution for higher education generally depends on the quality of life in the country concerned, the cost of studying and living, the level of education and the opinion of the students who have studied here before. We should not hesitate to admit that India cannot match the developed countries in terms of quality of life. A few days ago there was news that this year the number of students going from India to America for studies has reached a new high this year(2022). A total of about eighty-two thousand students have enrolled in US educational institutions for higher education. Students from India also go to study in other countries especially Australia, Canada, UK, New Zealand etc.
According to the figures so far, the number of Indian students studying abroad is between 11 and 12 lakhs and it is estimated that by the year 2024 it will cross eighteen lakhs. This news also needs to be seen along with other news. In August this year, the University Grants Commission (UGC)It announced that universities and higher educational institutions of the country would be allowed to provide up to twenty-five percent additional seats for foreign students in their undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. No entrance test will be conducted for these seats. Certainly our country wants to attract a large number of foreign students. But the reality is that the world’s second-largest populous country, which is now claiming to be the world’s fifth-largest economy, has no access to higher education. It has not been able to make its place on the global stage. In the year 2021, only 23,439 students came to India from abroad to study.
At present, the total number of foreign students in the country does not exceed fifty thousand. The National Education Policy released in the year 2020 talks of internationalization of Indian higher education. Here the intention is to make Indian higher educational institutions the preferred centers for higher education and to increase the number of students coming from abroad. This will not only increase the income of educational institutions, the exchange will also increase. It is a matter of debate that why the number of people opting for higher education in India is so low in comparison to the number of people going out of India for studies? One reason is clear that if we leave out institutions like IITs, IIMs and Indian Institute of Science, then India’s higher education places do not have any special name in the world.
Apart from this, the path of getting admission in such institutes is also very difficult. The status of bureaucracy is also in the higher education world. some private universities Easy access, but the quality of many of them has been questioned. This will be clear with an example. The number of such students has increased in the country who want to take admission in MBBS for medical studies and many of them also have the necessary talent for this, but due to less seats, less of these students get admission. The rest change their course or move to countries like China, Ukraine, Russia where the expenses are not very high and the entry is easy takes away.
Even in IITs and IIMs, very few students get admission in the number of people who apply. However, in the last years new centers of these institutions have also been opened. Overall, it can be said that the road to quality higher education in India is not as easy as it should be. Barring a few government institutions, higher education has now become much more expensive than before. Before India got independence and even in the decades after it, people used to go abroad from India to study. But then this number was very less.
Today the situation is totally different. Many middle class and upper middle class families dream of teaching their children abroad. Not everyone has the same approach here. For some families or students, it is a matter of fashion and social standing. Some students leave with the hope that they will get a top-class education and they will be able to make a bright future on the strength of this education. Apart from these, a large section is of those students who choose the path of study abroad because that they should get an opportunity to live and earn abroad from this. Very few of the students going from India to developed countries go back to India.
Some countries have strict policies for migrant workers and others are liberal. Nevertheless, the situation in these countries is much better than India in terms of availability of employment opportunities. At present, the students coming from outside for studies in India are from African and Arab countries in which the infrastructure of higher education is not very strong. Nearby Asian countries Nepal, Bhutan and India is also a priority country for higher education for the students of Bangladesh. But even after taking all these countries and other countries, the number of foreign students in India is less. Thus the ratio of foreign students to the students of the country is very small in the country. The choice of country and institution for higher education generally depends on the quality of life in the country concerned, the cost of studying and living, the level of education and the opinion of the students who have studied here before we hesitate to accept it.
It should not be that India cannot match the developed countries in terms of quality of life. On this basis, it can be said that those foreign students who can afford to study in countries like America etc., will hardly give preference to India for pursuing higher education. To attract foreign students, the government had announced a program named ‘Study in India’ in 2016 which was implemented in 2018. The program did not receive any expected response. just by providing additional capacity Foreign students will start coming to India, it is unlikely. For more and more foreign students to come to India to study, a comprehensive strategy has to be made and for this we have to learn from countries and institutions that have already made their mark in this matter.
Another approach says that first we should fix our higher education system for the students of our own country. Taking the liberty of using the word market for a while, we can say that the market for higher education in our country is as big as it is in foreign countries. The contribution of the students cannot add up much at the moment. If we can stop most of the number of students going out of the country to study outside, by giving them high quality education in our own country, then the country will get the benefit of their talent and foreign exchange will also be saved. At the same time, we should continue our efforts to attract foreign students. 


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