Indian varsities race to attract Nepali students

Kathmandu (IANS): At least 50 Indian universities and colleges are vying for students from Nepal at a time when the number of Nepali students seeking admission in Indian educational institutions has seen a sharp rise.

According to Nepal’s education ministry, over 20,000 Nepali students obtained no objection letters to pursue higher education in various Indian universities and academic institutions last year. The trend is showing an upward trajectory and the numbers are likely to be up this year too, according to the ministry.

The ministry figures have come even as the Eighth India Education and Career Fair 2014 kicked off in Kathmandu Friday to showcase higher education opportunities for Nepali students in India.

India has been the first choice of Nepali students for higher studies for a long time now and there are many reasons for this.

First, India is the only country that allows a hassle-free entry to Nepali students as no visa procedure is required, said Sanjay Thapa, founder and managing director of SAPE, a Kolkata-based event management company.

Apart from India’s proximity to Nepal and affordable tuition fees, the cultural closeness makes parents feel more secure about their wards, which is the main reason for the increasing number of students heading for India.

Furthermore, parents who wish to send their children to India rather than distant regions can visit the academic institutions before enrolling their wards. During the decade-long people’s war in this Himalayan nation from 1996 to 2006, there was a huge surge of Nepali students in Indian schools.

The trend never stopped as now, due to the political stability and five percent annual economic growth, many parents have started sending their children to various Indian schools despite the financial burden.

Most of the students who go to India prefer engineering and information technology, followed by management and nursing.

Information is also sought on admissions for Nepali students in premier Indian educational institutions like IIT, IIM and AIIMS.

Pragyik Vidyarthi Parishad, Nepal, recently submitted a memorandum to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, through India’s Ambassador to Nepal, Ranjit Ray.

The Parishad also demanded that separate entrance examinations be arranged in Kathmandu for Nepali students aspiring to enter these institutions.

India has been an education hub for Nepalis ever since the gurukul system of education started. The trend accelerated with the advancement in the education system after the initiation of formal education some 200 years ago.