Motivations and Mobility Experiences of International Students in India: An Evidence Based Approach to Internationalising Indian Higher Education (IIHE)

Internationalisation of Higher Education (IoHE) as a strategic policy is a relatively new phenomenon in India. The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 and the guidelines on ‘Internationalisation of Higher Education’ by UGC (University Grants Commission) envision ‘internationalisation at home’ making India a ‘global study destination’ and restoring its role as a ‘Vishwa Guru’ (Global Leader). The prime goal is to increase the number of international students in India from approximately 50,000 to 5,00,00 per year, envisaging a ten-fold increase. Though a number of initiatives, starting from reserving 25 percent of supernumerary seats for international students to establishing a Study in India (SII) Portal—a one-stop facility for international students—are in place, the inflow of international students has largely remained static. The All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) conducted by the Ministry of Education collects data on the composition and direction of international students, but unfortunately, there is no institutional mechanism to gain insights into the motivations and experiences of international students. Therefore, the main idea behind the webinar is to gain insights into the motivations and experiences of international students in India and propose a comprehensive evidence-based internationalisation policy for Indian higher education.

Given this, the proposed webinar will reflect on India’s internationalisation policy and what exits in practice by sharing the empirical results of a qualitative study based on three central universities in Delhi, viz., Jawaharlal Nehru University, the University of Delhi, and Jamia Millia Islamia. The session will begin by delving into the policy-related aspects of internationalisation, viz., how does NEP 2020 conceptualise IoHE and what are the broad objectives of IoHE in India? Do Indian institutions have the same objectives of internationalisation as those pursued by the West? What are the differences and similarities in parameters of internationalisation prescribed by NEP 2020 vis-à-vis the ‘Global North’? This will be followed by a discussion on how internationalisation is conceptualised or understood in practice by international students. What are the motivations and mobility experiences of international students? What are the gaps in policy and expectations of international students? The session will end with a discussion on future pathways for internationalising Indian higher education.