September 15: India’s economy is getting richer by billions of rupees collected as educational fees from Nepali students every year.
The number of Nepali students in India is the highest among all foreign students, according to the records kept by the Human Resource Development Ministry of India. However, this fact is hardly talked about.
Indian educational institutions are being inclined towards Nepali students. On the other hand, policy makers in Nepal are hardly concerned about finding out the reason for thousands of Nepali students opting to study abroad. Neither are they concerned about retaining the students by giving better opportunities within the country.
India has adopted a strategy of attracting foreign students. Nepali students fall in the top priority of India.
The All India Survey on Higher Education 2018/19 made public by the Human Resource Development Ministry of India in 2019 shows that Nepali students top the list of foreign students studying in India.
Nepali students constitute 26.88 percent of the total foreign students in India, states the survey report. During the review period, a total of 47,724 foreign students were enrolled in various educational institutions in India. Among them, there were around 13,000 students from Nepal.
Taking into consideration five years of average study in higher level, it is estimated that there are around 65,000 Nepali students in India. Nepali students spend billions of rupees on tuition fees, admission, food and accommodation as well as transportation.
In an average, one Nepali student spends around IRs 800,000 every year, according to the guardians who send their wards to India for higher education. Taking this into consideration, Nepali students spend around Rs 52 billion for studying in India every year.
The expenses would be much higher if the educational fees paid by countless other Nepali students pursuing education in convents of Dehradun, Nainital, Lucknow and Darjeeling are also taken into account.
Professor Dr Deepak Shakya says Nepali students have been pursuing education abroad due to the failure of the Government of Nepal to ensure proper infrastructure and educational system here in Nepal.
“The government’s education policy itself is not stable. The main reason for students going abroad is lack of adequate infrastructure and opportunities,” says Shakya.
Professor Dr Shakya says that the government must instead focus on adopting a policy of attracting foreign students.
Informed sources say that the Indian government has been providing various facilities to the educational institutes to make education accessible at affordable rates. The Government of India has been spending millions of rupees to attract foreign students.
The government of India reportedly approved budget of IRs 1.5 billion for promotional programmes between 2018 to 2020.
The Human Resource Development Ministry of India has set a target to attract more than 200,000 foreign students in the next five years. The Indian government has told reputed institutes of India to allocate 15,000 seats for foreign students.
Meanwhile, Nepali students have been opting to study abroad due to uncertain academic calendar, says educationist Indu Shekhar Mishra.
“India still has three-year course for undergraduate level except for technical subjects. But we have four-year course here in Nepal. On top of that, the course does not get completed in time,” says Mishra.