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African students throng colleges in Erode

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Karthik Madhavan

An important factor that draws these students to India is economics

ERODE: Erode region, which enjoys a reputation for housing some of the best engineering and arts and science colleges in the State, is a host to a number of foreign students. These students, particularly from African countries, pursue their bachelor's programme from these colleges. Surprisingly, these students are not opting for engineering or medicine. Instead, they are into pharmacy and other paramedical courses and arts and science courses. Daniel O., pursuing his B. Pharm in The Erode College of Pharmacy, says he is in India because there is a great demand for pharmacists in Kenya, his motherland. An important factor that draws these students to India is economics. The Erode College of Pharmacy has 22 students - 12 Kenyans and 10 Sudanese. The college authorities say the students have an advantage because, coming from Kenya, a Commonwealth country, they understand English.

The Sudanese students, however, are not competent enough in English. Likewise, in KSR College of Arts and Science, Tiruchengode, there are about 75 students pursuing various non-professional courses.

Meja Stephen, also from Kenya, says by studying in India he gets to save a year. Bachelors programmes in arts and science in Kenya are for four years.

Compared to many Asian countries, education in India is cheaper, the students say. "It suits us, middle-class Kenyans," says Bethuel Kwru, a first year B.Com student. When it comes to engineering, dentistry and medicine, it is a big no for them. Gift Kozo Mwinga, from Zambia, says the image of India as a powerhouse in Computers puts it in good stead in his country. M. Ganesan, Principal of KSR College of Arts and Science, says his college helps the students get a visa.

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