2000% increase in foreign students at Lucknow University in 4 years

2000% increase in foreign students at Lucknow University in 4 years
Abhay Anand | Nov 27, 2020 - 9:17 a.m. IST
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NEW DELHI: What began with a modest number of just four students four years ago has hit a century this year. The number of foreign students enrolling for PhD programmes in 100-year-old Lucknow University has grown from four in 2016 to 104 this year despite all the hurdles posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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What is more surprising is that students from Italy and Indonesia are applying for doctorate programmes in Hindi from LU. English and Hindi are the two popular courses among foreign students, with five students applying for Hindi.

Till 2016, the number of overseas students applying to Lucknow University for PhD each year would be in single digits. This number rose suddenly and sharply to 33 in 2018; then 52 in 2019; and finally, this year, 135 have applied. However, according to Arif Ayyubi, a faculty-member at the university and its international students advisor, the final number of students to confirm is 104.

More foreign students

Ayyubi credits the surge to changes his department has introduced in the past few years to help international students, including offering international-level facilities in hostels and making available food the students prefer.

Though the maximum number of students are from Afghanistan and have come under a scheme run by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), there are also students from countries from which Lucknow University has never had students before -- Italy, east European countries and Thailand.

The MBA programme of the university is very popular among foreign students. For the first time, four students from Iran will be joining it and are expected in Lucknow soon.

Ayyubi said that the university treats these students on par with their Indian counterparts and they must fulfill the standard eligibility criteria as well. However, for those on the ICCR scholarships, the fee is reimbursed by the central government and is about seven to eight times higher than what local students pay. “There is no scholarship scheme for them as such and when the Prime Minister himself is asking universities to become aatmanirbhar [self-reliant], how are we supposed to grant scholarships to them?” he said.

All students the university has received till now are fluent in English so, language is not an issue. However, teachers and guides do give them special attention so “they should feel at home”, Ayyubi added.

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