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India’s foreign student numbers grew 42% in 7 yrs

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The number of foreign students coming to India for studies has surged by nearly 42 percent in less than a decade.

However, the countries that send students to India have remained almost the same over the years, with a large chunk coming from South Asian nations, and Nepal accounting for the largest share, data from the Indian government shows.

In fact, countries like Malaysia and Bhutan, which used to send a lot of students to India, have reduced their numbers after educational facilities improved locally.

According to data from the All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) for seven years — from 2012-13 to 2019-20 — the number of foreign students coming to India went from 34,774 in 2012-13, to 49,348 in 2019-20.

Analysis of data from the seven years shows that Nepal continues to send the largest number of students to India, followed by Afghanistan. The number of students coming from Bangladesh has gone up in the past two-three years, while the number from Bhutan and Malaysia has gone down. The intake from Iraq and Iran has also gone down in recent years.

The majority of foreign students coming to India enroll for undergraduate programmes, followed by postgraduate and then PhD, data shows. Only a handful come for certificate courses. Science subjects are preferred the most, followed by business administration. The number of students coming for humanities studies is low.

In 2019-20, of the total foreign students in India, 9,503 were enrolled in Bachelor of Technology programmes, followed by 3,967 in Bachelor of Science and 3,290 in Bachelor of Business Administration. The trend was observed to be similar in the preceding years.

While there is no data for the pandemic years of 2020 and 2021, the data till 2019 paints a clear picture of education opportunities in India.

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