Twenty-five per cent of additional seats are being created for foreign students in educational institutions across India. These foreign students will not have to undergo the process of appearing for entrance tests. All students who have foreign passports will be considered foreigners.

Indian students who are living abroad with foreign passports will also be able to take admission in reputed higher educational institutions across India without appearing for entrance tests.

Foreign students will not have to give entrance tests, but a fixed admission process is being formulated which will be completely transparent. Along with this, keeping in mind the interests of foreign students, higher education institutions will have to set up an ‘office of international affairs’.

Not only the Education Ministry and the University Grants Commission (UGC) are taking major initiatives for the admission of foreign students in Indian educational institutions, but also in the field of Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) and visa, extensive facilities are being made available to such students.

Single point contact is being established for the registration of foreign students along with FRRO or e-FRRO.

Higher educational institutions across the country will now be able to create 25 per cent additional seats in their universities. UGC has given approval to higher educational institutions across the country for this arrangement.

The UGC in its 560th meeting on August 18 has given this approval along with guidelines for admission of international students and supernumerary seats (means seats which are over and above the sanctioned intake approved by the appropriate authority and the government) in undergraduate and postgraduate programmes at Indian higher educational institutions.

The basic objective of allowing higher educational institutions to increase seats for foreign students is to facilitate smooth and easy admission of international students to higher educational institutions in India, to create a conducive environment for Indian higher education to attract international students and to make India a preferred destination for foreign students.

UGC Chairman M. Jagadesh Kumar told IANS that the higher educational institutions would be allowed to admit international students through a transparent admission process which will be similar to that being followed by foreign universities.

Foreign students do not have to go through the admission process for seeking admission to higher educational institutions in India.

According to the UGC Chairman, all higher education institutions will have an ‘office for international affairs’ which will be responsible for carrying out various activities.

This includes dissemination of information related to the admission process of foreign students, coordination of all matters relating to foreign students, brand-building campaigns abroad, redressal of grievances of foreign students in various matters, facilitating networking with fellow students, provide all possible assistance to foreign students to adapt to the new cultural environment and to make their stay comfortable and prosperous in India.

Kumar told IANS, “Internationalisation of higher education is an essential aspect of the National Education Policy (NEP), 2020. Opportunities to attract international students, academics and funding are increasing and many Indian Higher Educational Institutions are now committed to expanding their reach. In order to facilitate internationalisation of Indian higher education institutions, the UGC has prepared guidelines for admission and creation of additional seats for international students.”

NEP, 2020, envisages a new and forward-looking vision for India’s higher education system. It lays the foundation for the much-needed transformation and overhaul of the current education system by focusing on key issues such as access, equity, multidisciplinarity, holistic and value-based education.

According to the UGC, the Indian higher education system is one of the largest in the world and such a vast system has led to transformation, including in the areas of leadership, funding, quality of education delivery, accountability, management, teaching-learning and education. There is a need to change the system or processes for higher education sectors.