By Rudra Narayan Sahoo, Mumbai: India is one of the largest contributors to the international education system. Indian students enrolling in overseas higher learning institutes rose 10% in 2015 and reached nearly 4.5 – 5.0 lakh. On the other hand, foreign students inflows to India is low but they meaningfully contribute to India’s education system. The total number of foreign students enrolled in higher education was 39,517 in 2013-14, as per All India Survey for Higher Education (AISHE) 2013-14.
The US, the UK, Germany, France, Australia, etc are dream destinations for international student community. Though India’s position as a destination for study centre for foreign students is at the lower levels, the government of India is making efforts to internationalise its education system. The foreign students come from 158 different countries from all across the globe in 2013-14.
The top 10 countries constituted 65% of the total foreign students enrolled. Rest of the 35% students comes from remaining 148 countries. Highest share of foreign students come from the neighboring countries of which Nepal is 21% of the total, followed by Afghanistan (8%), Bhutan (7%), Malaysia (6%). Sudan and Iraq constitutes 5% each. Iran, Nigeria, Sri Lanka and Rwanda each country constitutes 3 % of the foreign students. Moreover, among major contributors, only 1 country viz., Malaysia (63.7%) have more female students than male. Iran has almost an equal share of male and female students.
The highest numbers of foreign students were enrolled in Undergraduate courses, that is, 76.85% of the total foreign students, followed by Post Graduate with about 16.29% enrolment. Foreign male students are higher in almost all the levels, except in Certificate where female students are higher than the male students. Ph.D., Post Graduate, and Under Graduate have more than 65% male foreign students.
Analysing the State-wise distribution, Karnataka has the highest number of students coming from foreign countries which is 13,903. Apart from Karnataka, Tamil Nadu (5460), Maharashtra (5006), Uttar Pradesh (2816)¸ Punjab (2157), Telangana (2103) and Delhi (1546) attracted more than 1,000 foreign students.
Out of total foreign students, on the top B.Tech had 4135 students with 85% of male students, followed by MBBS having 2734 students with 41% male students, B.Pharm. having 2,583 students with 77% male enrolment. B.Com has 2318 students with 68% male students. B.A has 2244 students.
MBA has reported the enrolment of 1020 foreign students with 72% of male students.
The presence of foreign students in higher educational institutes not only strengthens nation’s education system but also improves brand image. Further, the inflows of overseas students help the domestic economy and boots tourism sector.
The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Council has already decided to conduct Joint Engineering Entrance (JEE) Advanced at overseas destinations from next year in the following nine countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives, Singapore, the UAE and Ethiopia. Further, the GATE 2017 shall also be held for candidates in other countries such as, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Nepal, Singapore, Sri Lanka, and United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The efforts of government of India will gain traction in the coming years to boost foreign students inflows to country.