iconimg Thursday, August 27, 2015

Aanchal Bedi, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, July 09, 2013
Indian students who aspire to study abroad have been hit hard by the double whammy of a falling rupee and the decision of the UK government to call for a £3,000 cash bond for visas to the country. Amidst all this, the recent announcement made by Francois Richier, Ambassador of France to India comes as a silver lining for students.

“As of July 14, 2013, all Indian citizens who have ­graduated from a French higher education institution, will get a five-year tourist or business visa (if the studies in France are at master’s or PhD levels),” Richier has said.

The French embassy in India has simplified visa procedures for Indian students, with special measures to expedite the visa process for those living far from any French consulate or Campus France office (the government agency promoting French higher education).

 Campus France will also establish partnerships with various Indian higher education institutes in order to accelerate the procedures for exchanges with French institutions and for their alumni.

These measures come after French president Francois Hollande’s state visit to India, during which he had said that higher education cooperation should be the highest priority and the objective should be to raise the number of Indian students in France by 50% in the coming years, Richier said. 

The Embassy of France in India is currently ­organising a ‘France-India’ job opportunities network that will bring together the human resources heads of the major French companies in India and major Indian companies in France. “We aim to facilitate jobs for Indian students who have ­pursued higher education in France. Higher education is important but it is equally important to link it with research and business,” said Richier.

“Earlier, aspiring students used to choose the US or UK for higher studies as language was no barrier. But the scenario has changed over time. More than 700 courses are now taught in English and about 500 MoUs have been signed with Indian universities. The best way to learn French is to be in the country but basics are important,” said Max Claudet, director, counsellor for culture and cooperation.

Addressing students’ concerns over the depreciating rupee, Arnaud Mentre, first counsellor, head of press section, said, “France is the least expensive country in Europe and we have various scholarships to offer. More than 350 French companies are present in India with a total investment of $18 billion approximately.” This year, the French Embassy, along with its corporate partners, will award scholarships of Rs. 7.1 crore to 235 meritorious Indian students who wish to pursue their higher education in France.