NEW DELHI: The Centre has asked about 100 institutes of higher education in the country— both private and public — to offer "lucrative fee waivers" to foreign students as it is set to launch its Rs 150 crore "Study in India" programme this week.
The mega publicity programme, set to be unveiled on Wednesday, is aimed at tapping students from mainly 30 ASEAN, SAARC, African and West Asian countries.
Senior officials in the Union Human Resources Development Ministry said that the government will launch a portal where universities and institutions which have agreed to offer “special packages” for foreign students will be listed.
“So far, about 60 institutions including various Indian Institutes of Technology and private universities like Symbiosis International University have registered with us and have agreed to offer graded fee waivers based on the student’s performance in the entrance tests they take,” an official told The New Indian Express.
“We hope that by the time academic session starts in July-August this year, 40 more institutes joins us,” the official added.
The government has decided to spend Rs 150 crore in two financial years, starting 2018-19, under the initiative which is meant primarily for brand promotion activities.
“We have felt that India has potential to develop as a major education hub in Asia but an intensive branding initiative was lacking all these years,” said another official. “So that gap is being addressed through this scheme.”
As per the existing rules, there is a provision of 10-15 per cent supernumerary seats for foreign students in educational institutes. The new programme would target the foreign students to be admitted as per this provision, which will have no adverse impact on the number of seats meant for Indian students.
The All India Survey on Higher Education 2016-17 says that while about 5 lakh students travel abroad to pursue higher education, there are just 47,575 students of foreign nationalities studying in Indian universities.
“While we are number two after China in terms for sending our students abroad — just 1 per cent of total students who leave their native countries to pursue higher studies land up in India,” the official conceded. “So we are now doing something that countries like Australia started some 30 years back.”
Data show that the highest share of students come from the neighbouring countries — Nepal (23.65 per cent), Afghanistan (9.3 per cent) and Bhutan (4.8 per cent). Students from Nigeria and Sudan comprise 4.4 per cent each, followed by Malaysia from where about 3.3 per cent students come to India. B. Tech and Bachelor in Business Administration programmes in various universities see the highest number of foreign student enrolments.