After UGC expands seats for foreign students, chairman Jagadesh Kumar says admission process will be transparent

The UGC has said that universities and higher education institutions across the country can now reserve 25% of the supernumerary seats for foreign students for their undergraduate (UG) and postgraduate (PG) programmes.

Indianexpress.com spoke to UGC Chairman M Jagadesh Kumar to understand the new guidelines and future plans to bring more and more international students to Indian institutions. Jagadesh Kumar responded to questions via email.

Q: Earlier, Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in India admitted foreign students. What exactly changes with the new supernumerary seating arrangement?

Jagadesh Kumar: Since 2000, UGC has created 15% supernumerary seats in different disciplines in educational institutions. In these guidelines, there is a provision for 25% supernumerary places for international students in HEIs.

In terms of admissions, the current guidelines provide that Indian HEIs can admit international students based on the equivalence of their entry qualifications. The equivalence must be determined by the University Grants Commission (UGC) or any other body recognized by the UGC for that purpose or the corresponding regulatory bodies of the country. HEIs can adopt a transparent admission process to admit international students.

Q: How will this new regulation attract international students, especially from developed countries? Will there also be scholarships/grants for international students?

Jagadesh Kumar: Depending on the availability of infrastructure and qualified teachers, HEIs may distribute these 25% places among all departments, schools, centers or any other academic unit whenever possible.

It is up to the HEIs to decide whether they want to offer scholarships and bursaries to foreign students. However, even in foreign universities, very rarely scholarships are given at UG and PG levels.

Q: Will this seat reservation be valid for all UGC recognized HEIs or will it be limited to HEIs of a certain NIRF rank or NAAC grade?

Jagadesh Kumar: Yes, these guidelines will be applicable to all HEIs recognized by the UGC.

Q: What is the definition of international students?

Jagadesh Kumar: International students, in the context of these guidelines, are defined as those who must hold a foreign passport.

Q: Some may criticize this move saying that these resources could have been used to add seats for more Indian students. Your comments on this.

Jagadesh Kumar: Existing seats for Indian students will not be affected due to the current guidelines. For international students, 25 percent of supernumerary places are offered beyond the total sanctioned enrollment for undergraduate and graduate programs at HEIs. In addition, the presence of foreign students on our campuses will help us to integrate the international and intercultural dimension in higher education. This is why UGC encourages all good HEIs to work towards increasing the number of foreign students on our campuses.

Q: Do you expect the new regulations to help bring international student numbers back to pre-pandemic levels?

Jagadesh Kumar: Yes. The guidelines have been drafted with the aim of:

1. Facilitate simple and easy admission of international students to higher education institutions in India.

2. Create an enabling environment to attract international students to the Indian higher education system.

3. Make India a preferred destination for international students.

Q: When it comes to making India a preferred destination for international students, what other plans has UGC come up with?

Jagadesh Kumar: The internationalization of higher education is an essential aspect of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020. The need to internationalize certain aspects of higher education, while making all higher education internationally relevant, has been a main area of ​​attention, in order to integrate an intercultural dimension. in higher education.

UGC had issued guidelines for internationalization of higher education in India on 29 July 2021. These guidelines list various strategies and initiatives and provide an excellent opportunity through a wide range of activities such as now internationally relevant curricula. Brand building of Indian higher education institutions abroad, academic and research collaboration with foreign universities, credit recognition under twinning agreements, a global citizenship approach and engagement with foreign alumni .

The guidelines provide an excellent opportunity for global outreach of Indian higher education institutions. The guidelines also provide for the creation of an “Office of International Affairs” in HEIs to facilitate and operationalize matters related to internationalization.

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