NEW DELHI: India is set to sign agreements for mutual recognition of university degrees with 30 focus countries from which its expected maximum number of students for its ambitious Study In India programme.
The first of its kind initiative will see the country recognising University programmes of nations like Nepal, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Tanzania and Ethiopia.
“We are promoting India as a destination for higher education in mainly 30 countries so we are looking to enter into a degree recognition agreement with them,” said an official in the higher education department of the Union Human Resources Development ministry.
“An agreement like this will give them assurance that we have similar respect and value for the degree offered in their universities,” he added.
As per 2016-17 figures, there are a little over 47,000 students of foreign nationalities studies in India but through the scheme launched in April, the government has set an ambitious target to take this number to 2 lakhs by 2023.
Under this scheme, the government has decided to launch mega publicity blitzkrieg in 30 focus countries-mainly in Africa, South East Asia, SAARC and West Asian countries for which Rs 150 crore will be spent in next two years
Though the government claims foreign students come from 162 different countries from across the globe, most of them—about 62 per cent-- are from SAARC nations and African countries.
Figures 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
Officials said that early this year, India and France had agreed to treat each other's academic degrees as an equivalent for higher studies and jobs, the first such initiative to facilitate the mobility of students between the two countries.
“India, till its agreement with France, had not signed such an agreement with any country, keeping in view the difference in the duration of academic programmes offered by the host institutions there,” an official said.