Tokyo calling! Abe to woo Indian students


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Tokyo calling! Are Indian students tuned in? When Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visits India from December 11-13, there will be many big-ticket issues on the table, including the nuclear deal, but one that is close to the Japanese leader’s heart is to get more Indian students to come to universities in his country.   

There are already collaborations already between universities in both countries, but there is a lot more that can be done in the sphere of education.  Mr Abe’s visit could see inter-government collaboration in the field and an agreement on the promotion of Japanese in Indian educational institutions, especially the IITs, could be signed. “Language is a huge barrier behind Indian students not opting for education and research in Japan despite Japanese institutions figuring in the top 50 engineering colleges in the world,” according to an unnamed official.

There are more than 100,000 Indian students enrolled in the US, while there are just 500 in Japan, as per government records. Despite having a lower cost of education in Japan, when compared to universities in other countries, the Land of the Rising Son has not been able to attract Indian students, the way US, UK and Australia have been able to. According to various reports, the annual fee for an engineering course at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is over USD 40,000 while the same course at Tokyo University costs USD 10,000.

The visiting delegation is likely to hold discussions with their Indian counterparts on finding ways to increase the exchange of students between both the countries. The two countries have been focusing on increasing collaboration in education in recent times.

By naming the University of Tokyo the coordinator for the Study in Japan Project (India) in October 2014, the Japanese government assigned it with the responsibility of delivering information about Japanese higher education to Indian students, teachers and parents. A number of India-Japan education summits have been planned for 2016-17.

Indian students are being wooed by Japanese universities for taking up research in science and technology.  The universities also provide scholarships covering tuition and living expenses. IIT Hyderabad (IIT-H) has a partnership with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).