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IIT Kharagpur and the United States – India Educational Foundation (USIEF) organized a two-day joint workshop for universities in Eastern India themed ‘Igniting Interest to Study in India: Best Practices to Attract Foreign Students on Your Campus’.

USIEF promotes mutual understanding between the nationals of India and the US through the educational exchange of outstanding scholars, professionals and students. The organization has the mandate to organize such outreach workshops to promote both the inbound and outbound flow of students between the two countries.

“Recently we have seen a drop of about 15% in the inbound students to India from USA. We are trying to reach out to universities in India and bridge this gap,” said Dr. Diya Dutt, Deputy Director, USIEF.

The organization has been awarding Fulbright, Fulbright-Nehru, and other prestigious grants and scholarships in almost every academic discipline will now be setting up Nehru Chairs in US universities to enhance interaction not just within the academia but also engagement with the community at large, confirmed Diya.

They are also looking into the scope of improvement in the areas of cutting-edge research and teaching infrastructure and accommodation in which Indian universities can get an edge by meeting the globally accepted standards.

Talking about the initiative, Dean International Relations of IIT Kharagpur Baidurya Bhattacharya said, “We cannot remain an island of excellence. While we have been serving the nation and society it is also our responsibility to join forces with our peer groups, share with them our learning and experience on internationalization and in turn learn from them. Eastern India with its socio-cultural diversity has tremendous potential of becoming a preferred destination for foreign students not just in India but for the entire South Asian region. And the best part is the universities here, have been offering quality affordable higher education which these foreign students seek.”

IIT Kharagpur officials who spoke at the workshop also focused on student facilitation pertaining to admission, terms of degree courses, visa, clearances, insurance etc. and agreements with foreign universities, institutional ranking and international brand outreach activities.

Among the participants were XLRI Jamshedpur, Indian Institute of Engineering Science And Technology Shibpur, West Bengal State University, Presidency University, Jadavpur University, IISER Kalyani and several others. The participants, some of whom were from relatively younger institutions, in an open house were introduced to various initiatives and ideas to improve their international inbound presence. Some of them are already were contemplating on learning from the best practices, such as the idea of Dyuti, a socio-cultural short-term education programme started by IIT Kharagpur in 2019 for foreign students studying in other Indian universities, caught the interest of Dr. Ashis K Pani, Dean Academics of XLRI Jamshedpur who was a participant

Dr. Paramjyot Singh, faculty at XLRI Jamshedpur and a former Nehru Fullbright Fellow said, “these workshops create a great opportunity for knowledge sharing, collaboration and mutual understanding. It’s about we and it’s about a common future for us.”

IIT Kharagpur which is extensively promoting its international outreach to bring in more foreign students for degree and non-degree programmes has already set up a robust international relations mechanism to attract more students.

“Processes, facilities while being the key aspect, most students look for financial support. We launched various scholarship programmes funded by the Institute and alumni especially for SAARC, ASEAN and African students which has I would say affirmatively increased our international student enrolment significantly” added Associate Dean International Relations Anandaroop Bhattacharya.

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