Delhi University has seen a steady rise of late in the number of foreign students, especially women candidates, enrolling for courses under it.
University officials claim that despite perceptions that Delhi was the "rape capital" of India in the wake of the December 16, 2012, gangrape here, women candidates considered to be a safe destination for pursuing higher education.
According to data available with DU's Foreign Student Registration Office (FSRO), while 1,007 students from abroad had enrolled in various courses in the 2012-13 session, that number increased to 1,184 in 2014-2015. In 2011-12, 952 foreign students had enrolled in DU.
The number of women students has increased to 546 in the current academic session from 492. The number of women students who took admission in 2011-12 was 434.
"DU gets more students from the South Asian and South East Asian countries while there are a few coming in from the Middle Eastern, European and African countries too," said Amrit Kaur Basra, head of FSRO, which is the single window for foreign nationals who wish to take admission in DU.
"During the interaction exercises conducted by our office, we got to know that the perception of rape capital has not created apprehensions among global students. They are concerned definitely, but not apprehensive," she said.
In the current session, among the South Asian and South East Asian countries, there are 311 students from Nepal, 55 from Afghanistan, 36 from Maldives, 23 from Sri Lanka, 23 from Vietnam, 22 from Bhutan, 10 from Bangladesh, and seven from Indonesia, she said.
"There is also a steady inflow of foreign students to DU from the Middle Eastern, European and African countries like Iran (11), Iraq (7), Nigeria (11), Congo (10), Zimbabwe (10) and Somalia (2)," Basra said.
"While the quality of education and low cost of living are the primary reasons behind the increase in the number of foreign students, we also have taken a series of measures to ensure they have a pleasant stay on campus," she added.
DU has 5 per cent seats reserved for foreign students in all its undergraduate, post-graduate and research programmes under the "supernumerary quota". As per university rules, the seats under the quota are not transferable to other categories in case of fewer applications from foreign students.
"Surprisingly, we even have foreign students who take admission in Hindi Honours. Although the seats in courses like Sanskrit and other regional languages remain unfilled, we do not have a provision to enroll Indian students under the category," Basra said.
The varsity has an 'International Hostel' for male and female foreign students and there is also a separate bus service for them to ensure they can travel safely to their respective colleges.