The number of international students who enrolled at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) increased by 64% in the last academic year. According to TISS, 241 foreign students enrolled at the institute in 2015-16, compared to 147 students in 2014-15.
Internationalisation of higher education, better awareness of scholarships and fellowships and an opportunity to learn social sciences in the peculiar socio-economic environment of Mumbai have been cited as possible reason for the trend.
In 2016-17, 78 foreign nationals have enrolled in TISS so far, and more likely to join later in the year. Officials expect the final tally to surpass that of last year.
“Internationalisation of higher education is being looked at positively, with the trend of studying abroad gaining popularity among students. Many students from India and other countries are looking for short-term exposure to a foreign university,” said Jennifer Mujawar, senior programme coordinator, International Relations Office at TISS.
Five years ago, one couldn’t imagine India as a popular destination for international students, said Mujawar, adding, “A few knew about scholarships, credit transfers and studying abroad. It’s a new trend.”
In 2011-12, the institute admitted 131 international students. Since then, the number has increased steadily, with the exception being 2014-15, during which a 33% drop was recorded. Mujawar said fluctuation in numbers is often linked to the volume of funds made available for accepting international students. Despite the popularity of study abroad programmes, the funds available for sending students abroad are shrinking owing to geo-political reasons, she said.
This year, the institute received around 186 queries for full-time programmes as well. “We offer a variety of interdisciplinary courses, at an affordable fee,” said Mujawar, adding that students look for more than academics while choosing a study destination.
Enrolments over past 5 years
Many international students at TISS are from European countries and are enrolled in short-term programmes in social work, disaster management, human resource management and labour studies and globalisation.
Academic Year No. of students