What’s in the news?
- The Indian Council for Cultural Relations plans to harness the power of over 48,000 foreign students in India as brand ambassadors of the country’s heritage when they go back home
- Beginning this year, the ICCR will start E-3, or Exit Engagement Evenings with foreign students, beginning three or four months before they finish their courses in various Central and State universities
- The engagements would also include visits to places of national importance.
- This “soft diplomacy” is meant to spread the India story when students go back to their home countries.
- At present, the ICCR has zeroed in on the Khadi Commission, the Indian Tourism Development Corporation and the Department of AYUSH to hold these evenings with the students.
- There are plans to rope in Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation (TRIFED), which markets the produce and products of tribal people.
Foreign students in India
- According to the latest All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) brought out by the Ministry of Education, the number of foreign students enrolled in Indian higher education institutions was 48,035 in 2020-21
- People from more than 160 countries visit India to study.
- Nepal, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, the U.S., the UAE, Bhutan, Sudan, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Yemen were the countries from which majority of the students came.
Other similar initiatives
- In April 2022, ICCR launched a website called the India Alumni Portal as a platform to connect with foreign students around the world who have studied in India. The portal is envisaged to be a single platform for all past and present foreign scholars to register, interact, and maintain their Indian links.
- Indian missions abroad are now mandated to form alumni associations in the countries they are present in, and organise activities inviting members to meet visiting Indian dignitaries.