STUDY IN INDIA: India is a strong education destination, says VIT Vellore VC
Dr. Anand A. Samuel, Vice-Chancellor, VIT Vellore, speaks on what India needs to do to promote its higher education potential for global students….
Q. India has a lot to offer to the world as a market and also as an education destination. How do you look at it, and what needs to be done to attract foreign students to India?
A. India and its higher education system both are doing well. We are on the right track. We also have a strategic advantage with a lot of developments happening in the eastern part of the world with eastern culture, eastern business model catching up in. Students from other countries have a lot to learn from India from a general point of view as well as from a career and business point of view. So, we as a university and as a country need to promote India as a strong education destination which is as safe as any western country.
Some of the Indian universities are also doing well and are nowhere behind the top universities of the world. In the digital era, to man the technological developments happening around the globe, experts and skilled people are not available everywhere while we are focussed on these skills which give us an advantage as a nation.
We at VIT say that we are offering international education at Indian costs. The cost of education is an important factor because of which many students come to VIT. If we look at the top foreign universities, they are multicultural in nature. We at VIT have a large number of programmes to expose international students to Indian culture as well that of other cultures in the world. So, once a student passes out of VIT, he is ready to work in any part of the world.
Q. What according to you is the most important reason for foreign students coming to VIT?
A. When a foreign student picks a university, one of the main parameters he or she looks at is the diversity in the campus. With 1400 international students from 53 countries present, VIT offers diverse culture that helps foreign students to adjust very fast.
Q. What are some of the most popular courses among international students?
A. We offer 51 undergraduate and 37 graduate programs. We have foreign students in almost all the programs. The most popular programs are ones related to Computer Science and Civil Engineering.
Q. Could you share the number of students studying in your university in various programmes and the counties to which they belong?
A. Out of 1400 international students in the campus, majority of them are coming from countries like Zambia, Ghana, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Ivory Coast, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Malaysia, Indonesia and Maldives.
Q. Do international students at VIT get placements?
A. The placement division of VIT is doing so well that last year 719 companies came to VIT for placements, which is a record and it has been registered in the ‘Limca Book of Records’. So, every student at VIT gets a job. It also includes students who are coming from abroad. There are many foreign universities which do not guarantee a job, but we not only provide technical knowledge to students but also try to get them placed in a good company.
Q. How will the Institute of Eminence (IoE) status help VIT in attracting foreign students?
A. Though there has not been any formal announcement, still I would say it is going to help us in several ways. Right now, we have to work under various restrictions, and the regulatory bodies also treat us like any other institution in the country. So, there are lot many hurdles in implementing any new scheme. After getting IoE status, we will have complete autonomy and we will be able to offer new programmes, increase intake capacity for foreign students, which we are not able to do right now. We will also be able to attract good quality professors from foreign countries and also post-doctoral fellows. Getting IoE status will also help us in boosting the image of the institution internationally.