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40% of scholarships offered to foreign students remains unused

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Nearly 40% slots for foreign students unused for the past three years due to poor diplomacy and lack of coordination between MHRD, Finance and MEA. Out of the 3,465 scholarship slots offered by the union government to foreign students for pursuing higher education in India, 1,361 (39%) remained unused in 2013-14, states the annual report of the Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR).

The scene hasn't been very different in previous years too, when almost the same, or sometimes more, slots remained vacant, pointing to failure of the Indian diplomatic missions aboard.

40% of scholarships offered remains unused

Most of these scholarships, which include free education in top universities, along with free boarding and lodging, are offered to developing countries in Southeast Asia, Afghanistan and the African continent.

Why has the mission failed?

Experts blame it on poor diplomacy of the Indian missions abroad, which are entrusted with popularising the scholarship schemes in their respective countries through media and educational bodies. "Bureaucratic approach of our embassies, tedious application process and lack of transparency deters students from applying," said an office of Indian Foreign Service.

Diplomats point out that 90% scholarships offered are for the study of Indian languages, culture, Ayurveda and social sciences, whereas demand is for technology, medicine and management courses.

None of the universities in India are ranked among world's top 100, which shows a poor picture of Indian higher education. Barring few central universities, IITs and IIMs, no Indian higher education institution is known outside the country.

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