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New Delhi : The  Union Education Ministry is deliberating on measures to increase the number of international students coming to India for higher studies. At a review meeting of the Ministry’s Study in India Programme with partner institutions on March 19, 2021, Secretary Higher Education Amit Khare said that the criteria for institutions partnering under the programme will soon be revised so that more institutions that have the necessary infrastructure  and academic quality  can join the programme.  He also said that no distinction will be made between private and public institutions in matters of supporting internationalisation.

Study in India (SII) is a programme of the Govt of India that aims to attract international students to higher education institutions in India.  Select 117 institutions are partners under the programme that was launched in 2018. Admissions are merit based and done through a common portal. Around 7,500 students from over 50 countries have come to Indian institutions so far under this programme.

The Government has also recognised the importance of creating a conducive on- campus ecosystem for the international students, where they not only get quality academic inputs but can also feel safe, welcome, happy and hassle free. In this regard, Khare called upon all partner institutions to set up world class hostels for international students. There is a provision for financial assistance for this under the Champion Services Sector Scheme that supports SII, which can be provided to some institutions, according to a PIB release.

In addition, there is an urgent requirement of setting up International Students’ Offices in every institution that takes in international students. This office should work as a single window support for anything that the international students may need right from the day they get selected to join the institution. Besides this, avenues like networks of families, mentors etc should be developed, who can help the students to socialise so that they feel welcome in the country and have an enjoyable stay here, with memories that they can cherish.

In addition to this, the Ministry has also asked institutions that they should consider organising orientation for international students when they join, as well as orientation for the faculty to sensitise them to  teach using contexts that these students can relate to.

The Ministry is also looking towards enhanced academic collaborations between Indian and international institutions under Twinning, Joint and Dual degrees with credit transfer mechanism. UGC has already brought out draft regulations in this regard that have currently been put up for stakeholder consultation. The Ministry has plans to take up the issue of allowing internship for international students with the department concerned of the Government. Many of the partner institutions pointed out that the absence of internship for international students was a big drawback for any programme of higher studies in India.