Indian finance minister allocates £46.6m to create “world class institutions”

India’s finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman has proposed to allocate £46.6 million to create “world-class institutions” in a bid to attract a greater number of international students.

“India has the potential to become a hub of higher education,” Sitharaman told members of India’s upper house.

The government will also bring in a new National Educational Policy, and proposes to establish a national research foundation to “fund, coordinate and promote research”.

“I, therefore, propose to start the program ‘Study in India’ that will focus on bringing foreign students to Indian higher education institutions.

“We will continue to make concerted efforts to improve the performance of our institutions of higher education,”  Sitharaman explained.

Additionally, draft legislation for setting up a higher education commission of India will be presented in the year ahead, she added.

According to the draft National Education Policy, approximately 45,000 (11,250 per year) international students study in Indian higher education institutions (the 26th ranked destination for international students).

“It is important to recognise the fact that international students are attracted due to the reputation of an institution, and thereby the first step must be towards creating such institutions,” the document contends.

To increase the number of visiting students arriving at India’s institutions, the draft policy suggests introducing “internationally relevant” education, Indian culture and language courses, and facilitating student exchange, faculty mobility and research collaborations.

Institutions also need to create additional infrastructure, such as residential facilities required to host international students and focus on providing incoming students with a safe, positive, and holistic experience.