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The HRD minister Smriti Irani on Monday emphasised that the “education diplomacy” is bound to take the country forward built upon the initiative launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he had announced 50,000 scholarships for African students in India over the next five years during the India-Africa forum Summit last year.
Smriti Irani while inaugurating the Indian Council of Cultural Relations’ (ICCR) conference on “Higher Education in India for Foreign Students,” focused on “affordable excellence” as the “fulcrum” of “engagement” with foreign students. She stressed on the creation of “an environment that goes beyond scholarships.”
She pointed out that 80 scholars from across the world have decided to teach in India and said,” For the first time, we have earmarked 10 goalposts for research-(varying) from defence to sustainable living.”
At present 3,350 scholarships are offered by ICCR to international students in courses ranging from Indian classical dance, music and Ayurveda to development studies. ICCR scholars are enrolled in more than 120 institutions, including the IITs and NITs, across 18 states. The students are mostly from SAARC and African countries. On the other hand under the Afghan Scholarship Scheme, 1,000 scholarships are offered every year.
Mongolian ambassador Gonchig Ganbold who graced the occasion and spoke in Hindi, had come to study in India on an ICCR fellowship more than thirty years ago.