How many Indian students visit France every year for educational purposes? What are the main fields of knowledge that they seek to pursue?
Around two years ago, 4,000 students from India came to France for education. Last year, the number increased to 5,000. Now, our target for the next couple of years is to double the number of Indian students, that is around 10,000. We get a very large number of students from China, so we are trying to analyse how to raise the number of Indian students as well.
Many Indian students come to France to study at engineering and business schools. Physics is another area. There are many in India who visit our country to explore French literature and culture. Does France have any student-friendly policies for Indian students?
We cannot talk about policies as such, but there are a few scholarships that Indian students can avail to make learning and stay in France affordable. Campus France, as well as Alliance Française de Pune, have details about such scholarships.One major problems we face while admitting students from India to our universities is the inequality of the degree programmes. A bachelor’s degree in India isn’t similar to the one in France. So, it’s difficult for us to recognise the grades from Indian universities and harmonise them with those of ours. However, we are working on it to bring about a smooth mobility for Indian students into our universities.
In today’s global market, how does France perceive India? What are the prospects of strengthening Indo-French relations at the moment?
The French government is collaborating with several Indian institutes through many mini MoUs. We have signed MoUs with Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Delhi, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Pune, etc. French companies have been visiting IIT Bombay for recruitment purposes. We have collaborated with Taj Group of Hotels, and provide internships to students of their cooking school. We have many exchange programmes for students and teachers of the French language. We are trying to build an ecosystem for students, where they don’t just take the degree and go back, but also take a piece of our culture and language with them.