France has set a target of 30,000 Indian students by 2020 in a bid to honour the Franco-Indian partnership, which has marked its 25th anniversary.
The landmark decision was revealed during a visit by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to France, while the current numbers of Indian students in the European country are considerably high as almost 20,000 are anticipated to be welcomed by the end of 2025.
This move is expected to strengthen the countries’ educational ties and contribute to fostering cooperation and mutual understanding.
“The deepening of our links in education, sciences and technologies, and culture, and the blooming exchanges between our young people, as well as the success of a diaspora in expansion, bring together our people and set the bases of future partnerships,” said a joint press release from the two countries.
According to the latest statistics from Campus France, some 6,321 Indian students were at French higher education institutions in 2021, placing India 14th in the list of top 20 countries of origin for international students in the country. France previously had a target of hosting 10,000 Indian students by 2020.
Since 2016, Indian students in French universities and colleges have increased by a whopping 92 per cent. These positive outcomes have prompted the French authorities to announce that Indian citizens who hold a master’s degree from any country and who have completed at least one semester in France are eligible to apply for a five-year post-study short-stay Schengen visa.
According to a spokesperson from the French embassy in India, the new alumni visa is particularly strategic as it rewards students for picking France as a study destination, including those that came for only a few months.
The visa is designed to allow these students to stay connected to France while also promoting France as a study destination, as the spokesperson said the PIE.
Another announcement during this period was that a new format of international classes would be established to facilitate the integration of non-French-speaking Indian students into the French education system.
In the new courses, Indian students will be trained in the French language, and the academic topics will make them eligible to join Bachelor programs taught in the French language.
“If you want to have more students from [those countries], you need to accept them as they are, and as they are is that they don’t speak French,” the spokesperson said, justifying that France doesn’t have the same tradition of Germany and the Netherlands and Frenchmen are very shy in the English language.
French authorities plan to initially see 15-30 public universities volunteer to invest in new programmes and courses, which are expected to become self-sustainable after two and three years.