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Trends and strategies towards internationalisation of higher education in India

Mona Khare (Department of Educational Finance, National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration, New Delhi, India) (Centre for Policy Research in Higher Education, National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration, New Delhi, India)

International Journal of Comparative Education and Development

ISSN: 2396-7404

Article publication date: 17 February 2021

Issue publication date: 13 May 2021




This study aims to explore what are the past trends in internationalisation of higher education (IoHE) in the country and how India's higher education (HE) internationalisation strategies are aligned to make India a regional education hub and a storehouse of global talent pool.


This paper relies heavily on secondary sources of information. Document analysis and policy reviews to analyse the internationalisation strategies as well as quantitative data analysis to map the trends have been used.


At present, internationalisation in India is lopsided and may become a drain on Indian economy if not balanced soon. India is now focussing to correct its adverse inbound–outbound international student (IS) mobility in order to become attractive for international HE community; India aims to strategically “prepare to host,” which is subject to institutional abilities to implement new schemes and programmes. International credibility of Indian HE rests largely on quality augmentation.

Research limitations/implications

The study is based purely on secondary sources. It would be interesting to augment further with primary-level interactions with both policymakers and practitioners.

Practical implications

It is a mix of academic and non-academic factors leading to improved quality of teaching, learning and competency-building in the higher education institutions (HEIs) rather than financial doles and incentives that should draw international academics to India in order to make the global traffic two way and financially viable for the country. IoHE to become viable and financially sustainable requires more comprehensive institutional efforts and mechanisms to bring in fee-paying ISs, research grants and multinational industry endowments.

Social implications

With more fee-paying outbound students and more non-fee-paying or highly subsidised inbound student growth, the situation is already critical in terms of financial implications. This can have long-term implications of societal divide arising out of “global academic impoverishment” of majority Indian students unless state-supported assistance to ensure equitable access to international opportunities is provided to the needy students in the country.


This article is an analytical update on India's HE internationalisation and can be a valuable resource for policymakers, analysts as well as researchers.



This paper has been drawn from a study sponsored by UNESCO, Bangkok, Thailand and Tokyo University, Japan for their project on Developing Indicators for Internationalization of Higher Education in Asia and the Pacific.


Khare, M. (2021), "Trends and strategies towards internationalisation of higher education in India", International Journal of Comparative Education and Development, Vol. 23 No. 2, pp. 136-151.



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