MUMBAI: Every year, close to 2 lakh Indian students sign out of the domestic education sector to pursue a foreign degree. The counterflow, however, is nothing to write home about.
A headcount of foreign students by the HRD ministry for 2013-14 showed that enrolment of international students in Indian varsities was up by a modest 11,000 to touch 31,126. This barely conspicuous increase took place at a time when the foreign student population in universities across the world was growing at the frenetic pace of 60 per cent since 2000.
“Our universities have not been able to capitalise on this opportunity. They are losing out on the advantage of not only generating some revenue but also of making their campuses diverse,” noted professor Furqan Qamar, the lead author of the paper titled Internationalisation of Higher Education in India: Annual Survey of International Students in India 2013-14.
A study by Furqan Qamar and Veena Bhalla from the Association of Indian Universities (AIU) shows foreign students are mostly going to state and central universities, but the private and deemed universities, with their hostel facilities and catering services, are catching up.
AIU’s data shows that most foreign students signed up for distance education courses at Indira Gandhi National Open University. When it came to full-time programmes, however, they preferred going to smaller towns like Pune, where the cost of living was within their means.