BENGALURU: A city that has charmed foreign students with its campuses is now witnessing a fall in the number of international students taking admissions this year, thanks to the pandemic. While admissions are open in most colleges of Bengaluru, with travel restrictions, late result announcements and fear of virus, many institutions are witnessing fewer new international students.
For instance, Christ deemed-to-be University, which gets about 600 students from abroad, has had 120 students joining in this year. “What used to be around 100 students from Nepal is 29 this time. There’s just one student from South Korea as against 50 in a normal year. The admissions through ICCR (Indian Council for Cultural Relations) scholarships are yet to come, but the numbers will not reach the normalcy. The drop is likely to affect the university revenue by 10-15%,” said Fr Abraham VM, vice-chancellor.
ajkumar Chakraborty, director (admissions) of Presidency University, said students used to come to Bengaluru 6-8 months prior to the admission season, but this year it’s different.
“Students from Saudi Arabia and African countries, in particular, arrive early in the city to achieve English proficiency. They join English training centres and make a smooth transition when colleges open. This time, all of them returned home by March and are yet to return to take admissions,” Rajkumar said.
However, the number of NRI and Person of Indian Origin students returning to get admissions has increased, he added. Conceding a drop in international students, Christo Joseph, director, strategy and planning, Garden City University, said there’s an increase in admission from NRI students, especially from West Asia, in the recent past and attributed it to economic situation arising out of job losses, salary cuts and families returning home.
Universities are taking measures to attract students to campuses. Jain deemed-to-be University that had 700 foreign students last year has 420 this year. “Confirmations are slowly coming in for some courses, but not like previous years. While we do not see a drop from Saarc countries, the reduction is from those like Ethiopia and Somalia,” said Suhasini Gowda, senior adviser for international students and the scholars advisory centre of the university. Suhasini said they’re keeping fees almost the same as last year, besides giving students an option to pay in installments.
‘Early to comment on trend’
Some hope the situation will improve in the coming days. “A major chunk of our foreign students are from South Africa. Our consultants have started work in connecting with students,” said B Narasimha Murthy, vice-president, CMR Institute of Technology.
P Venugopal, regional director, Indian Council for Cultural Relations, which provides scholarships for foreign students to study at Indian campuses, said: “We got 1,400 applications between December 2019 and March 2020. Confirmations have started to come in only now. I’s early to comment on the trend, but it’s possible the pandemic affects the admissions.”