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France promotes India as exchange destination

With France looking to attract 30,000 Indian students by 2030, India in turn is being promoted as an exchange destination for French students.
April 25 2024
3 Min Read

With France looking to attract 30,000 Indian students by 2030 as a part of the Franco-Indian roadmap, India in turn is being promoted as an exchange destination for French students.

A panel discussion titled ‘India, place of talents and innovation’, organised by CNCCEF India (French Foreign Trade Advisors) and the National Commission for Training in France last month, intended to provide a perspective on modern India to French students who may want to choose the country for exchange semesters, internships or Volunteer for International Experience. 

The event attracted more than 2,000 French students across 65 institutions in France.

Presentations on the quality of higher education in India, an overview of India’s economy in light of it being the fifth largest in the world, focus on tech innovation and other promising sectors such as aeronautics and defence, setting up enterprises in India, and how young French people can work in the country, were some of the key agendas of the session. 

“When France is looking at increasing the number of Indians studying in France, French students should also be encouraged to come to India,” said Maud Le Bars, South Asia Area Manager, Omnes Education, who moderated the session. 

“Indeed, it all starts with strong university collaborations based on reciprocity and a balance of exchanges.”

French industry professionals currently working in India served as panellists and addressed questions from students.

Queries ranged from cultural practices in the country, the safety of women, role caste plays in the workforce, respect for time and punctuality, as panellists sought to dispel any prejudice about India.

“Traditionally many French students choose Latin American countries or China”

Currently, around 8,000-10,000 Indian students study in France, with the number expected to go up to 25,000 by 2025. However, not enough French students choose India as an exchange destination which could change based on the feedback gathered from the session. 

“Traditionally many French students choose Latin American countries or China as destinations for their exchange semester,” Le Bars told The PIE.

Semester exchanges without fees are based on reciprocity and can only be sustainable if French schools send an equivalent number of French students, Le Bars continued.

“This is why we have made efforts recently to promote India to the young French community. Some 75% of the 2,000 students who joined us for the March webinar said they would put India on their priority for exchange semesters/internships/first job when a previous survey mentioned only 10% of French youth were remotely considering the country,” Le Bars said.

Participating students and faculty members were from renowned engineering, business and management institutions across France such as ESCE Paris, INSEEC, ECE Paris, Grenoble INP, ITECH Lyon, IAE Chambery, and more. 

France and India, who have traditionally maintained a strategic relationship, are now promoting more people-to-people exchanges with higher education at the centre of it. 

Back in July 2023, India’s Ministry of External Affairs announced the issuance of a five-year validity short-stay schengen visa for Indians who are degree holders from French educational institutions (masters and above).

As per sources in Campus France India, 1,000-1,500 Indian exchange students in France will also benefit from this short-stay visa, which was previously restricted to masters students. 

Moreover, French President Emmanuel Macron, who served as the Chief Guest for India’s Republic Day 2024 on January 26, announced the launch of Classes Internationales for Indian students to learn French for a year in France before pursuing the degree of their choice. 

According to Campus France’s website, France and India will also form a joint committee to promote advanced research and are set to create a joint Master’s course in the healthcare sector through the Franco-Indian campus in the Indo-Pacific region. 

Over 412,000 international students are currently studying in France, making it the sixth most popular study destination, as reported by The PIE. 

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