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Budget Opens the Gates for Indian Institutions to Fly Internationally Today, the Indian education system is the probable hottest selling international destination in the coming decade.

By Pratik Gandhi

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With the Union Budget laying the foundation for world class institutions in 2016; and the 2017 Budget making provisions for autonomy, internationalization and digitalization- Indian higher education sector is all poised to fly out internationally. The segment that needs impeding attention is growing awareness and building confidence amongst institutions and preparing them to take off into the global education markets. Thus, making "Study in India', represent Brand India.

The biggest declaration for higher education sector came in with the Finance Minster Mr. ArunJaitely making provisions in the present union budget to create more autonomy of institutes by making structural changes in the UGC. Further granting access to SWAYAM education portal online; with an introduction to 350 online courses, and launching 100 international centres across the country help the younger lot seek jobs outside India. Giving more autonomy to institutes (with obvious quality benchmarking) and embarks India's educational journey international.

Today, the Indian education system is perched on the global education hot seat, as the probable hottest selling international destination in the coming decade. As two consecutive budgets have highlighted path-breaking policy initiatives that are aimed at reviving our present structure to make way for new beginnings. Further, we also have our political and administrative heads supporting the cause of globalization of Indian higher education system. This truly stands as the best moment to revive, renew, remodel and re-launch Indian higher education capabilities. The reason deemed is growing employer acceptability towards Indian educated candature, affordability, diverse student mix, changing student views (about India) and above all initiating desirability.

The results of the government's initiatives are beginning to show. The annual rankings by QS included Mumbai and Delhi in the global top 100 destinations to be in for a student for the very first time. Another study by Times Higher Education under the BRICS & Emerging Economies University Rankings 2017, ranked IIS 14th of the best universities in the developed world with scores of 45.8 overall and a phenomenal 50.1 in teaching scores!

Policy Push

Combining budgetary initiatives taken up in 2016 and 2017, the higher education system is getting its much-needed investments for research & development, building infrastructure and remodeling for internationalization.The World Class University initiative seeks to make India's 20 higher educational institutions (10 public and 10 private) rank amongst the top 100 universities globally. On the other hand, HEFA aims to offer affordable loans for infrastructure and research & development requirement of educational institutes. Also, digitization of classrooms, bringing distinguished international faculties (similar to universities), and increased funds for Prime Minister's Research Fellowship are on their way.

Further reforms rolling out in 2017 include emphasis on innovation fund for secondary education. Reforms underway in UGC to identify institutes based on ranking and give them more autonomy. Proposal to leverage information technology with the launch of Swayam platform for virtual learning, and building 100 Indian international skill centres to be established with courses in foreign languages, are all paving way forward for internationalization and making India ready for the world.

Speed Breakers

But all is not rosy around these schemes; the road blocks in the path of robust internationalization is the fact that in spite of all the policy initiatives from the top, it's still not trickling down in the right spirit. The awareness has not spread beyond the top notch private players and even state and central government institutes are not party to this paradigm shift. For the benefits to show on a large scale it is imperative for the smaller and grass root level institutes, universities and private colleges to part take and benefit from this robust growth models.This can happen once awareness is build and aimed at getting them out of the inertia of inactivity.

Opportunity to go beyond…

Also, as Mumbai and New Delhi clinch a spot in the top 100 best cities for students in the world, according to the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) Best Student Cities Ranking 2017. Further, India will certainly reach greater and greater heights thanks to its dynamic, young and competitive people. And move over to being counted in as becoming one amongst top study destination for international students. The trick is to create and build strong infrastructure base that will not only prioritize internationalization but also work forward to meet its own growing internal demand for higher education.

Organizations like admissiondesk.org are relentlessly working towards the single-minded goal of ensuring that these challenges faced are significantly reduced.

The stage is set, and the one who walks till the end will win it through. It is now up to the institutes and heads of universities to take the step forward. With a strong policy support in place, any activity aimed at improvising learning standards, building infrastructure, and digitally attracting foreign students or working towards making processes for our students to gain global skills will be much appreciated and set a precedent for others to follow as well.

Pratik Gandhi

Co-Founder at Edulab

Pratik Gandhi is the Founder of Edulab Educational Exchange Pvt. Ltd. He has been in the business of education for over a decade now. He began his journey, as a student, graduated to being a facilitator, and now has carved a niche for himself as a service creator. He comes forth as visionary in the field of student mobility in India, a person who vouched for the concept of ‘Study in India’ campaign even before its official inception. 

Pratik, Co-founded his first company Edutrotters Pvt. Ltd in 2006, while he was still a student at Mumbai University, studying international Finance and set-up base to mobilize over 12000 students from India in a short span of three years for various experiential learning initiatives. Post completion of his MBA in Entrepreneurship from Babson College (USA); he made a more focused comeback and laid the foundation for Edulab, and set up base in Mumbai. 

Pratik set up Admissiondesk.org in 2016, which is a first of its kind interactive platform based in India that helps foreign students to apply/seek admission in Indian institutes. Amidst the scheme of things the aim of this portal is to build a unified system that seeks to standardize online application process across institutes, and above all mobilize international students towards India.

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