Kerala University (KU) has agreed, in principle, to allow foreign students to pursue subjects of their liking while staying on the campus for a semester or even more.

“We have in-principle agreed to allow foreign students to pursue a course or subject based on their interest. They could follow the subject for a semester or even more. On completion, the students would be awarded the ‘credit’ and they can continue with their programme back home. We plan to introduce the programme from the next academic year,” (KU) Pro-Vice-Chancellor (PVC) N. Veeramanikandan has said. “The decision was taken at a recent meeting and it would be placed before the Syndicate for approval. A university-level monitoring committee, headed by the PVC, will be constituted to work out the modalities,” he said.

Foreign tie-ups

Once the Syndicate gave its nod, the university would embark on a mission to give wide publicity to the programmes and, if need be, enter into tie-ups with foreign institutions, he added.

The decision was in tune with Kerala State Higher Education Council (KSHEC) advisory to universities to develop programmes to attract foreign students as part of its India Study Semester initiative, Mr. Veeramanikandan said.

Specific programmes

KSHEC Vice-Chairman T.P. Sreenivasan told The Hindu that along with Kerala University, Mahatma Gandhi University, the Cochin University of Science and Technology, and the Calicut and Kannur Universities had been asked to evolve specific programmes targeting foreign students.

The universities in the State, he said, had tremendous scope to attract foreign students as subjects close to the State’s social milieu such as Ayurveda, folk and martial arts were in much demand in foreign countries, he said.

The universities had been asked to prepare tailor-made course catering to foreign students in fields such as Indian system of medicines, yoga, folk arts, martial arts, Kerala history, and music, Mr. Sreenivasan said. Providing necessary infrastructure to meet the requirements of foreign students would be the biggest challenge, he said. Initially, the university and colleges could tie-up with Kerala Tourism Development Corporation Hotels and Resorts Ltd to provide accommodation to such students, he said.

An international meet on transnational education would be held in the State during the first week of January. Representatives of various foreign missions, universities, consultancies, and academic bodies would be invited. The idea was to promote universities and other academic institutes in the State before foreign audiences, Mr. Sreenivasan added.