Amid indications that many Indian students would not go abroad for higher studies this year due to Covid-19 pandemic, the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry has begun a move to increase the intake of “well-performing” universities and take some other measures for enrollment of such students.
The Ministry, at a meeting on Friday, presided over by HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, has also decided to work out a mechanism to help Indian students, who are returning to India from the US, the UK and various other countries due to Covid-19, complete their programmes.
The HRD Ministry set up a committee under University Grants Commission (UGC) chairman D P Singh to prepare guidelines and measures to ensure that “more and more” Indian students "stay in India and study in India."
The committee was also asked to formulate a mechanism for increasing intake in “well performing” universities and submit its report within a fortnight.
“Also mechanisms will be explored for starting multi-disciplinary and innovative programs, twinning and joint degree programmes, cross country designing of centers, facilitating online lectures by eminent faculty abroad, linkage between academia and industry, facilitate joint degree ventures and lateral entry to Indian higher education institutions,” the ministry said.
The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) will come out with “a white paper” soon regarding measures to be taken after studying the entire scenario.
“Separate sub-committees consisting of the directors of the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), National Institutes of Technology (NITs), Indian Institutes of Information Technology (IIITs), Council of Architecture (CoA) and vice chancellors of central universities will be created who will assist UGC and AICTE chiefs,” the ministry added.
Addressing the meeting, the HRD Minister noted that many students, who wanted to pursue studies abroad, have decided to pursue their studies within India.
There are also rising number of Indian students returning to India with concern about completion of their studies, the minister observed.
“The HRD Ministry should make all efforts to look into the needs of both these categories of students,” Pokhriyal said.
He stressed on the need to “retain” Indian students, who are aspiring to go abroad, by providing them with “appropriate opportunities” of education in premier institutions in India, support those Indian students, who are returning to India due to the pandemic, complete their programme.
Over 7 lakh students travelled abroad to pursue their studies in 2019.
“And, because of this, valuable foreign exchange moved out of India as well as many bright students. We should make all efforts to help bright students to pursue their education in India,” HRD minister said.
The issue requires “a thorough understanding” of their present and future educational requirements, and career plans, which needs to be addressed “appropriately” with timely interventions, he added.
During the meeting, Union Minister of State for HRD, Sanjay Dhotre, said that there is a need to understand “the root cause” why students go abroad for studies. He suggested creation of “adequate infrastructure” in the Indian higher education institutions to ensure that students stay in India for their studies.
“The root causes are many. We should take every step to address the issues and also attract the international students to India under our Study in India programme,” higher education secretary Amit Khare said.