Emphasising that “education diplomacy” will take the country forward, HRD Minister Smriti Irani on Monday carried forward the call Prime Minister Narendra Modi had given when he had announced 50,000 scholarships for African students in India over the next five years during the India-Africa Forum Summit last year.
Inaugurating the Indian Council of Cultural Relations’ (ICCR) conference on “Higher Education in India for Foreign Students”, Irani focused on “affordable excellence” as the “fulcrum” of “engagement” with foreign students. She urged for creation of “an environment that goes beyond scholarships”.
Pointing out that 80 scholars from across the world have decided to teach in India, she said, “For the first time, we have earmarked 10 goalposts for research — (varying) from defence to sustainable living”.
ICCR offers around 3,350 scholarships to international students for courses ranging from Indian classical dance, music and ayurveda to development studies. ICCR scholars are enrolled in more than 120 institutions, including the IITs and NITs, across 18 states. Most students are from SAARC and African countries. Under the Afghan Scholarship Scheme, 1,000 scholarships are offered every year.
Mongolian Ambassador Gonchig Ganbold, who spoke on the occasion in Hindi, had come to study in India on an ICCR fellowship more than three decades ago.
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