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EdCIL to promote Brand India in education
BS Economy Bureau in New Delhi | April 16, 2004 10:52 IST
A focussed programme to establish India as a quality destination for higher education is being drawn by the Educational Consultants India Limited (EdCIL), a Government of India enterprise, which is planning to attract at least 1,500 foreign students from countries across Asia and Africa in the next year.
It expects an estimated revenue of $5 million -- paid by foreign students in 2004-05.
EdCIL plans for a revenue growth target of 200 per cent for education exports in 2004-05. The strategy is to aggressively market Indian education in Asian (SAARC, Middle East, and South East Asia) and African countries, which have been identified as the potential markets.
This will be done through personalised visits, publicity in these countries and working closely with the country missions, universities, and NRI/PIO bodies in these countries.
The number of target countries is being increased to 24 from 8 last year. The focus countries this year will be Ethiopia, Kenya, Mauritius, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bahrain, Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, UAE and Yemen.
An additional 25 institutions will be brought under the EdCIL programme for promoting Indian education abroad. It proposes to target more premier institutions in the public and private sectors for signing MoUs. These institutions will benefit from enhanced inflow of international students in India.
To make the campaign effective, EdCIL is promoting India as a country with a vast and developed network of 300 universities of higher learning and over 15,000 colleges in the fields of engineering, IT, bio-tech, agriculture, management, medicine, pharmacy, arts, science, commerce, humanities and social sciences among others.
The government has created an exclusive scheme called Direct Admission of Students Abroad (DASA) wherein 15 per cent of seats have been reserved in premier technical institutions such as the National Institutes of Technology (formerly the Regional Engineering Colleges) and centrally funded institutions for foreign nationals/PIOs/NRIs.
According to Ajit Motwani, technical director, EdCIL, education is a sizeable and growing exports business. The education and training sector ranks fifth in export of services in the United States.
It is estimated that there are almost 1.8 million students studying outside their home country worldwide. He says that India has a great potential to attract international student traffic.
Important factors considered by students while looking for international education options are cost, proximity, and overlap with their cultural values. For countries in Asia and Africa, India offers a friendly environment, cultural diversity and more importantly the best value for money options.
He said one of the underlying benefits of increased international student traffic is the resultant globalisation of the campuses. It is aimed to leverage education at affordable cost proposition to further accelerate the process of creation of modern infrastructure in the tertiary education sector.
Apart from foreign exchange, other non-quantifiable benefits like two-way supports in trade, investments, and closer international business connections will be the result of such an initiative.