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How to do I set up automatically reply on whatapp

Is India Still The Neighbourhood’s Education Hub?

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Introduction

India has long been an education hub for students from its neighbourhood.[2] Besides economic benefits, India’s capacity to attract students from neighbouring countries has helped it to form closer political ties and spread its cultural influence and values to the surrounding region. India’s ability to provide quality higher education is a form of soft power that, subtly but surely, enhances India’s connectivity with its neighbours. Some of the South Asian leaders who have benefited from an education in India include Nepal’s former Prime Minister B.P. Koirala, Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi and Afghanistan’s former President Hamid Karzai. In 2018, however, only three serving world leaders had studied in India, compared to 58 in the United States.[3]

This policy brief maps the current status of India as a higher-education hub for students from South Asia. For a comparative analysis, mapping of outgoing students from the region to China has also been included.

Methodology

The data on student inflows to India is from the annual All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) reports published by India’s Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), Government of India, between 2010-2011 and 2018-2019.[4] The reports are based on data that has been uploaded voluntarily to the AISHE portal by all institutions of higher education, namely universities, colleges and stand-alone institutions. Therefore, the data reflects only the reported estimates. For the 2018–19 report, the survey reported a 94% rate of participation.[5]

The equivalent data for China is from the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) ChinaPower Project, derived from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, China.[6] However, this data set does not have any data for Bhutan. Therefore, for consistency, the India-China comparison (Figure 4) does not include students from Bhutan. To maintain comparability, in this inter-country analysis, totals do not include students from either India or China. The same figure also does not include students from Pakistan because of China’s preferential education policies towards the beneficiaries of its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), resulting in a much higher number of Pakistani students studying in China.[7]

This policy brief covers student data for eight of India’s neighbouring countries viz. Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, collectively referred to as ‘South Asia’ or N8.

Inbound Foreign Student Population in India

1Historically, India has been the destination of choice for students from the South Asian region. In the 1950s, as India focused on establishing premier institutions of higher education, students from neighbouring countries such as Nepal predominantly chose India for higher education. This trend was encouraged by factors such as, cultural similarities, reduced travel time and lower costs.[8] However, in the last five years (2014-2019), the growth in the South Asian student population has plateaued.

Students from South Asia constitute nearly half of the total foreign student population in India.

Figure 1 shows that in 2018-19, of the total 47,427 foreign students in India, South Asians constituted nearly half of the share (49%). This has been increasing since 2010, when students from the neighbourhood formed 38% of the total foreign student population. During this decade, the total number of students from both South Asia and rest of the world has been increasing. However, as seen in Figure 1, between 2016 and 2019, the increase in the share of South Asian students from the total foreign students is attributed to the relative decrease in the number of students from rest of the world. Furthermore, it is reported that the total foreign students in India (including South Asians) decreased in 2017-18. It should be noted that this anomaly is a result of a possible error in the AISHE methodology for 2017-18, as shared by a former MHRD official, and cannot be interpreted as a decline in the number of students. In the succeeding year, the growth rate of students from both South Asia and rest of the world is maintained.

The share of incoming students from India’s neighbourhood provides a more positive outlook of South Asian students in India. However, this figure is largely dependent on the number of total foreign students. To demonstrate growth in the numbers, figure 1 also tracks the year-on-year percentage change in the number of incoming foreign students. It is seen that the growth was highest in 2011–12 and 2013–14, at 30% and 18%, respectively. Between 2014 and 2017, the percentage change stagnated at approximately 8%, and barring the anomaly in 2017-18 (as mentioned above), the figure maintained a growth of 9% in 2018-19. However, this figure recovered in 2018–19 with a growth of 9%.

The year-on-year growth of the number of students from India’s neighbourhood—30% at its peak in 2011-12—has been mostly stagnant or decreasing since 2013.

The slow growth in the number of students from South Asia and rest of the world can be attributed to a variety of reasons ranging from a lack of institutional quality in India to logistical concerns with regard to a dearth of facilities for foreign students.[9] Many students have to seek external housing with options often not providing basic facilities like WiFi.[10] In addition, the quality of life in Indian cities is particularly low. The highest-ranking Indian city in the 2018 Quality of Life rankings was Hyderabad at 143.[11] Moreover, the highest-ranking Indian university in the QS World University Rankings is the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, placed at 162. In contrast, four universities of China (mainland) feature in the top 100.[12] University life is a holistic experience, and one which is affected by many factors such as quality of education, housing, personal safety, security, and city life, all of which play important roles in a student’s choice. If India wants more students from the region attending its educational institutions, it must undertake wide-ranging reforms to address the issues undermining its higher educaton systems and universities.

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