‘Destination India’ conference to begin today

ST CORRESPONDENT
Tuesday, 28 January 2020

“Pune hosts the largest number of international students. Over the years, the number has been declining and there are reasons behind it. We are keen to understand the reasons. The conference will have students, teachers and representatives of various stakeholders, agencies like Ministry of External Affairs, MHRD, etc,” said SPPU Vice-Chancellor (VC) Nitin Karmalkar. 

PUNE: To draw a road map for achieving the target of bringing in two lakh foreign students in India for education by 2022, the Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR), the Symbiosis International (Deemed University) (SIU) and Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) have organised a two-day national conference on ‘Destination India - Making India The Preferred Hub of Education’.

The conference will be held at the Symbiosis Lavale campus on Tuesday and Wednesday (January 28 and 29) and will be inaugurated by the Minister of Human Resource Development (MHRD) Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’. 

“Pune hosts the largest number of international students. Over the years, the number has been declining and there are reasons behind it. We are keen to understand the reasons. The conference will have students, teachers and representatives of various stakeholders, agencies like Ministry of External Affairs, MHRD, etc,” said SPPU Vice-Chancellor (VC) Nitin Karmalkar. 

SIU VC Rajani Gupte stated that the police representatives and Pune mayor will also be present to discuss what the city could do to help foreign students. Both the universities host about 3,000 international students each.

“As academicians, we would like to understand what programmes can be established, what are their requirements in terms of curriculum and what can be offered by the educational institutions,” said Gupte. “All the entities need to work collaboratively to increase the intake number of foreign students from 50,000 to two lakh by 2022,” she said.

ICCR Deputy Director-General Namrata Kumar said, “Procedures like getting a student visa or extension, getting admission in the right college for the right course - there has to be a system to simplify the process. The screening process at the institution level and government level need to be smoothened.” 

“One of the initiatives undertaken for the above-mentioned issues is the ‘Study in India’ programme. ICCR has also introduced one programme which is the digitisation of the entire admission process as well as financial and academic management of students,” said Kumar. 

“We don’t have any central mechanism to capture data on the number of foreign students studying in India. Hence, even the official records can’t claim any definitive data on it. So, we don’t have the exact number of students coming for traditional courses or short term courses. Sometimes, they come on a tourist visa as well,” added Kumar.

The conclusions of the conference will be shared with the government. 

“Traditional courses like dance, visual arts, etc, which can be uniquely formulated into courses and offered to developed countries because they will probably not come to seek courses which are available in their countries,” said Kumar. 

HIT COURSES IN INDIA
- Courses in Information Technology (IT), nursing and medicine are a hit among students coming from neighbouring countries, while students from developed countries choose traditional and cultural courses like yoga - mostly short-term courses. 
- “Afghanistan has been largely focusing on women empowerment and for this purpose, the country has sent 56 of its women students to study at Symbiosis,” said SIU VC Rajani Gupte.

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