Doha (Qatar): In the
last two decades, an estimated one million Indian students have
been educated in the United States. But only a miniscule number of
students have gone from the US to India, says a new study on the
Of the one million, over 104,000 came in the 2009-10 academic year
alone. In contrast, only 2,690 US students enrolled for academic
credits in India 2008-09. US students visiting India mostly focus
on enhancing their knowledge of this country, Indian history,
culture, language or interdisciplinary themes, among others, says
the report, titled 'Expanding US Study Abroad to India: A Guide
for Institutions' and made available to IANS here during the World
Innovation Summit for Education.
It points out, however, that India is the third most attractive
destination in Asia for US students after China and Japan.
Worldwide, India is only the 21st most popular overseas study
destination for US students.
The study, prepared by Patricia Chow and Kimberly Cho and funded
by the US State Department, notes that till not long back, the
"majority of US students have gravitated towards Western Europe".
The study, by the Institute of International Education, a private
non-profit set up in 1919 to counter growing isolationism in the
US, and promoting the "international exchange of people and
ideas", underlines the importance of learning about cultures "that
are critical to US strategic interests" and acquiring languages
that offer advantages in a global workplace.
The project was carried out between 2008 and 2010 in India,
Brazil, Turkey, Thailand and Indonesia and recently published.
It sees India's popularity "increasing" as a study destination,
but notes also the "uneven quality of Indian higher education, a
bureaucratic system that poses many hurdles to rapid expansion of
Indo-US educational collaborations; vastly different pedagogy and
curricula; and misconceptions and stereotypes on the part of US
citizens about India as a country".
On the positive side, it points to India's "diversity, long
history and increasing prominence in the world economy". India's
higher education system has the third largest enrolment globally,
after the US itself and China and IITs consistently rank among the
world's top universities.
India's "highly centralised system" consists of 400 government and
government-recognised institutions, including 20 central
universities, 215 state universities, 100 deemed universities, and
13 institutions of national importance (including IITs and IIMs).
The study notes that Indian students stay on in the US for several
years to complete their graduate degree programmes. Most US
students in India join short-term programmes of one semester or
With 74 percent of Indian students in the US studying in the
science, technology, engineering and mathematics
(STEM) fields, they were "contributing to US competitiveness in
science and technology", says the study.
"Indian students currently contribute $3.1 billion to the US
economy through a combination of their educational and living
expenses. The same is not true for US students in India." Most US
students studying in India gain credits for their US degree and
tuition fees are mostly retained by the US home campus or study
"This enormous educational and economic exchange imbalance is an
issue that needs to be addressed in the light of India's increased
importance on the world stage," suggests the study.
It contrasts the situation with other foreign students. "India has
long been a host to students from other developing countries," it
notes, saying there were some 22,000 international students
enrolled in public and private Indian higher educational
institutions in 2008-09, mostly from South Asia and the Middle
Most international students in India are full-degree students
studying in cities like New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, and Pune.
"Given India's political and economic role in the global market,
and its multitude of cultures and languages, it should be a more
popular destination for international students, especially for US
students. The majority of Indian universities, particularly the
more distinguished ones, offer challenging and enriching programs
in English, resulting in great potential for incrased partnerships
with US institutions," adds the study.
It also underlines India's role as home to many international and
domestic non-governmental organisations, development groups and
service, and suggests the country gould be an "ideal location" for
studies on issues of human rights, peace, justice, and also
programmes focussed on business and entrepreneurship.
The study notes the slowed passage for India's foreign educational
institutions bill, meant to exempt accredited foreign providers
from fee regulations, admission quotas and regulatory oversight
from the University Grants Commission.
On the other hand, it notes the educational reforms underway -
institutional governance, teacher accountability, accreditation
and improvements in curriculum and resource allocation.
(Frederick Noronha can be contacted at email@example.com)