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India poised to open their education system to global students – Expert views of Pratik Gandhi, a veteran in the business of education!

As the demand for quality education grows by quantum leaps, not all of this will be met up by the west. The global education landscape is witnessing a great par

By 2025 the global demand for international education will grow to 7.2 million students; a quantum leap from 1.2 million students in 2000. The Indian education system is by far the largest higher education system in the world with 70 million students enrolled. In less than two decades an additional capacity has been created for 40 million students with more than 36,000 functional institutes. Thus, students globally have many reasons to celebrate, deliberate and benefit from its robust higher education system.

As the demand for quality education grows by quantum leaps, not all of this will be met up by the west. The global education landscape is witnessing a great paradigm shift, a shift that is gradually opening up student outreach to the East and to the developing world towards new possibilities. Increasing globalization, financial pressures and lucrative ROI is making students weigh their investment versus learning curve in higher education.

Further, with Mumbai and Delhi making it to the list of top 100 Best Student Cities 2017 for students in the world released by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), the six composite factors working in favour of India are rankings, employer activity, affordability, desirability, student mix, and student perception. Beyond this the key success factor for India to march forward and clinch its spot in the global education arena is Policy, Diplomacy and Processes!

The opportunity of the hour for global students is the ability to capitalize on India’s key strengths of scale and diversity; openness, while India continues its work on infrastructure and research capabilities and hence develop world class global learning ecosystem.  

Pacing up with the new policy initiatives

Combining budgetary initiatives taken up in 2016 and 2017, the higher education system is getting its much needed investment for research & development, building infrastructure and remodeling for internationalization. The World Class University initiative seeks to make India’s 20 higher educational institutions (10 public and 10 private) rank among the top 100 universities globally. On the other hand, HEFA aims to offer affordable loans for infrastructure and research & development requirement of educational institutes. Also, digitization of classrooms, bringing distinguished international faculties (similar to universities), and increased funds for the Prime Minister’s Research Fellowship are on their way.

Further reforms are rolling out in 2017 include emphasis on innovation fund for secondary education. Reforms are underway in UGC to identify institutes based on ranking and give them more autonomy. A proposal to leverage information technology with the launch of the Swayam platform for virtual learning; and building 100 Indian international skill centers to be established with courses in foreign languages, are all paving the way forward for internationalization and making India easily accessible to the world.

Leveraging Diplomatic stance

If there is a good time to leverage from the nation’s diplomatic association, and scale up our education and training services at each, it is now.

A booklet called “Fast Track Diplomacy” released by the External Affairs Ministry showcasing the achievement made in the foreign policy arena. These highlights multiple foreign policies to keep up with its diplomatic stance: Act East Policy, Neighborhood First Policy, Indian Ocean Outreach, Project Mausam, Fast Track Diplomacy, and Para Diplomacy to name a few.  The good news is that most of these policies focus on improving bilateral and cultural ties with our neighboring countries.

All India needs to do is work into these five points-

1.Streamline its already in place scholarship plans for foreign students,

2.Make the process steadfast and effective,

3.Train existing Admission Officers, Deans, VCs, etc. to be more efficient in dealing with foreign students,

4.Showcase the updated educational infrastructure and invest in some more. India has the advantage of location, language; cultural compliance, democratic freedom, and lower cost index over the West and over China. We can showcase our success stories to the world more effectively

Creating processes that work both ways

India has multiple admissions and immigration aggregators working with a high success ratio. Today, nearly 234,000 Indian students enrolled for courses in colleges and universities abroad Vs only 39,000 degree seeking students coming to India. There is a need for admission aggregators to build the space for Indian institutes as well, and work support the government in the impeding task of building focus on inbound international student mobility, enable ease, capture meritorious students and highlight the success stories as well. Amidst this comes as a pioneering initiative, leading the ‘Study in India’ campaign strongly forward. It works as a proactive platform that is helping foreign students connect with colleges, choose relevant courses online, apply with ease, apply for scholarships and much more. It has also eased the application process by taking it completely online provides the institutes and students to assess their requirements in a more organized manner.

Further with India trained Engineers, Doctors and CEOs already making a mark globally, there is no doubt about the merit in our curriculum and education system. Sure, there is still need to tweak the infrastructure and processes that can better the results and further up India’s chances of being a revered international education destination. It is here that is chipping in and making all the difference. India enjoys being a cultural potpourri- that is indeed a great learning concept. It is one of those few places where science merges with history, art merges with cultural and political stance and knowledge merges with the application. After all, that’s experientially rich and knowledgeable focused people go on to make great business leaders of the tomorrow.

About The Author: Pratik Gandhi is the Founder of Edulab Educational Exchange Pvt. Ltd. He has been in the business of education for over a decade now. He began his journey, as a student, graduated to being a facilitator, and now has carved a niche for himself as a service creator. He comes forth as visionary in the field of student mobility in India, a person who vouched for the concept of ‘Study in India’ campaign even before its official inception.  Pratik also co-founded his first company Edutrotters Pvt. Ltd in 2006, while he was still a student at Mumbai University, studying International Finance and set-up base to mobilize over 12000 students from India in a short span of three years for various experiential learning initiatives. Post completion of his MBA in Entrepreneurship from Babson College (USA); he made a more focused comeback and laid the foundation for Edulab, and set up base in Mumbai. Pratik set up in 2016, which is a first of its kind interactive platform based in India that helps foreign students to apply/seek admission in Indian institutes. Amidst the scheme of things the aim of this portal is to build a unified system that seeks to standardize online application process across institutes, and above all mobilize international students towards India.

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