Govt looks to increase college seats to help students who had to give up study abroad plan

University students | Representational image | Bloomberg

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New Delhi: The Modi government is looking at the possibility of increasing the number of seats in Indian institutions to accommodate students who had planned to go abroad for higher studies but could not because of the Covid-19 pandemic, ThePrint has learnt.

The government has set up a committee called “Stay in India and Study in India” — comprising members from regulators All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and University Grants Commission (UGC) — that has been tasked with the responsibility of working out the modalities of this plan in consultation with colleges and universities across the country.

Headed by UGC Chairman D.P. Singh, the committee has been asked to fulfil its mandate “as soon as possible”. 

AICTE Chairman Anil Sahasrabudhe, who is a member of the “Stay in India and Study in India” committee, confirmed the development. “The government has formed a committee to look at various issues that have come up in higher education because of Covid-19. One of the issues is students not being able to go abroad because of the pandemic,” he said.

“The committee will deliberate on the issue and explore the possibility of increasing the number of seats in Indian institutions in order to accommodate students who could not go abroad.”

The Covid-19 pandemic has scuppered a lot of students’ plans to study abroad. ThePrint had reported earlier this week that Indian institutions are seeing a spurt in the number of applications as students who had been eyeing foreign education are now recalibrating their plans

Sahasrabudhe said increasing the number of seats is one of four proposals the committee is exploring to ease the impact of the pandemic on students. The other points include permitting the use of laboratories at premier institutes for research scholars who had to return to India in the midst of their course on account of the pandemic. 

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