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Foreign students’ population inches closer to 50,000 in 2019-20: govt

While there is a slight growth in the number of foreign students coming to India for studies, India’s aspiration and plan to become a study abroad destination is still far away. The Union government aspires to attract 200,000 foreign students to India, nearly four times the current number. (ht)Premium
While there is a slight growth in the number of foreign students coming to India for studies, India’s aspiration and plan to become a study abroad destination is still far away. The Union government aspires to attract 200,000 foreign students to India, nearly four times the current number. (ht)

  • The cumulative population of foreign students, of 49,348, in 2019-20 was slightly more than the total number of foreign students enrolled in 2018-19 (47,427) in the country

NEW DELHI : India’s foreign student population inched closer to 50,000 in 2019-20 including a little over 1,600 from the US, with Asian countries making up the biggest chunk.

According to an education ministry survey, the cumulative 2019-20 foreign student population of 49,348 was slightly more than the figure of 47,427 reported in 2018-19. The slight growth notwithstanding, this indicates India is still far from its aim to be a study-abroad destination with 200,000 foreign students. The foreign student population numbers also compare poorly with the number of Indian students in foreign institutions—In 2019-20, 193,124 Indians students were attending US universities and colleges.

“The foreign students come from 168 different countries… and highest share of foreign students come from the neighbouring countries of which Nepal contributes 28.1%, followed by Afghanistan 9.1%, Bangladesh 4.6% and Bhutan 3.8%," the All Indian Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) showed.

“The top 10 countries in terms of number of students come from also include Sudan, the US, Nigeria Yemen, Malaysia and United Arab Emirates," AISHE said, adding that except for the US and Malaysia, the number of male students coming from these top 10 countries were higher than the number of female students.

The highest number of foreign students are enrolled in undergraduate courses (74.3% of all foreign students), followed by postgraduate (about 16.6%) and the rest (9.1%).

Among states, Karnataka hosts the highest number of foreign students (10,231) followed by Uttar Pradesh (5,089), Punjab (4,966), Maharashtra (4,599) and Tamil Nadu (4,461). There are 16 programmes which have more than 1,000 foreign students, and accounts for more than 80.3% of the foreign students. With 9,503 international students, B.Tech is the most favoured course, followed by bachelor’s in science (3964).

Total enrolment in higher education has been estimated to be 38.5 million with 19.6 million boys and 18.9 million female students. The survey showed that the gross enrolment ratio (GER) in higher education in India is 27.1, which is calculated for 18-23 years of age group. GER for male population is 26.9 and for female, it is 27.3. For scheduled castes, it is 23.4 and for scheduled tribes, it is 18.0 as compared to the national GER of 27.1.

About 79.5% of the students are enrolled in undergraduate level courses and maximum numbers of students are enrolled in Bachelor of Arts programme followed by Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Commerce. “At undergraduate level, the highest number 32.7% of students are enrolled in Arts/Humanities/Social Sciences courses followed by Science 16%, Commerce 14.9% and Engineering and Technology 12.6%," it added.

Almost 79% of Indian colleges are privately managed, with just 13% of them getting some kind of government aid.

“Majority of the colleges (78.6%) in the country, are privately managed—while) 65.2% are private unaided & 13.4% are private aided. The remaining 21.4% are government colleges. There are wide variations among states in number of private colleges," the survey showed.

Overall, India has 1,043 universities, 42,343 colleges and 11,779 standalone institutions including engineering and B-schools in the country, catering to over 38 million students.

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