Education & Training

Will India host more international students post-COVID?

Will India host more international students post-COVID?

The central and state governments need to react swiftly and rethink their internationalisation policies in order to make Indian higher education more attractive for international students after the pandemic, says the author.


Tatiana Belousova, Assistant Professor, Jindal School of International Affairs, O.P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat, Haryana, India.


There have been many discussions of late about future directions in international student mobility. While all of them suggest that there will be no return to the ‘old normal’, there are differing opinions on possible academic mobility trends going forward.

For example, some scholars believe that mobility will become more localised, with intensified exchanges taking place within regions. Others project that there will be a shift in terms of the receiving countries’ profile, that is, from high-income countries to middle- or even low-income countries. If this is the case, it raises an important question about whether these countries are prepared to host a growing number of international students.

It is true that the pandemic, as devastating as it is, has also brought some opportunities for internationalisation of higher education in India. While we still need evidence-based data on the new realities of academic mobility, it has already become obvious that it will be influenced by a set of additional factors after COVID.

For example, important considerations will include health concerns, treatment of foreign students in host countries in the aftermath of the pandemic, visa and immigration policies, the amount of fees charged in the context of a global economic downturn, the format of course delivery and the quality of education abroad versus fee structures.

In such circumstances, we might see an increased number of internationally mobile students who may be willing to pursue their studies in India. In order to explore the situation on the ground, data is needed so I conducted a policy review in the state of Kerala, followed by a survey of international students.

Published in: University World News

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