How good is the ‘Study in India’ initiative?

Updated - June 19, 2018 03:59 pm IST

Published - June 16, 2018 01:52 pm IST

 Away from home: More opportunities

Away from home: More opportunities

The Government of India recently launched an initiative called ‘Study in India’. The programme is a joint initiative of the Ministries of HRD, External Affairs, Home Affairs and Commerce and Industry. It has been brought in place after the government observed that the number of international students coming to India was steadily declining, and more students were going to Singapore and Australia. In order to attract more foreign students, the government has decided to make the country’s visa process easier for foreign students and has included fee-waiver schemes. This year, 15,000 seats have been offered by 160 institutions.

While this sounds like a good initiative to boost the economy and achieve better global rankings, will it benefit domestic students? It is no secret that there are Indian students who have not been able to get admission in Indian institutions despite a good score, simply due to lack of availability of seats.

Limited capacity

“India is home to some of the world’s top universities. According to the QS World University Rankings 2018, of the 799 universities in the country, 20 institutions are ranked in the top 1,000, with eight institutions in the top 500,” says Naveen Chopra, founder of The Chopras. “However, the issue is not the unavailability of quality institutions, but the capacity to accommodate the growing number of students in India. The ratio of the number of applicants to the number of seats available in top Indian institutions are uneven. In fact, students with academic score as high as 90% are even unable to secure seats in their college of choice. Therefore, the competition for the limited seats gets aggressive.

Keeping in mind these challenges, it remains to be seen how the government will accommodate additional students from abroad within the existing system.” What continues to puzzle some people is why is the government is not concentrating on convincing Indian students to study and work in India, rather than assigning more seats and benefits to foreign students. The reasons behind Indian students being attracted to foreign universities may go against government in attracting students of other countries.

“Clearly, in choosing to study overseas, Indians have moved beyond reasons of work opportunities and safety. The quality of education is a prime motivator. Destinations such as Canada, France and New Zealand have attracted a reasonable number of international students from around the world, not just from India. Other reasons include excellent infrastructure and facilities, stress on practical teaching methodologies, top quality programmes and accessibility to top institutions and faculties,” adds Chopra.

“I went abroad to pursue master’s because I was unable to find the right infrastructure, facilities and opportunities in India. Even after scoring good grades, I would have had to settle with some low-level college that would not have provided me a good faculty. If the Indian government can try and attract foreign students, they can surely come up with a plan to retain Indian students. That should be their priority right now,” said Atasi Jain, a master’s student in Northern Ireland.

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