During a trip to India this week, minster Jean-Marc Ayrault also launched the Bangalore branch of France Alumni, an online platform operated by Campus France that connects former French international students with other alumni and job opportunities around the world.
Last year, France welcomed around 4,000 Indian students, a number which is “very insufficient” said Ayrault.
“It is very insufficient in terms of the quality of relations that our two countries maintain”
While this number of Indian students is 50 times higher than the number who studied in France 20 years ago, the minister said more can be done to attract them.
“Frankly, it is very insufficient in terms of the quality of relations that our two countries maintain,” he said.
In 2015/16, France welcomed a total of 310,000 international students, of which around 30,000 came from China – a number three times the target of Indian students.
Meanwhile, around 43% of France’s international students originate from African countries.
Speaking with The Times of India, Ayrault said: “Four million students studied in foreign countries in 2012. Around the world, international student mobility has become a major issue. This mobility is a guarantee of freedom.”
He reaffirmed that the “strategic partnership” between France and India was the main objective of the four-day visit, as annual trade between the two countries reaches a reported €8bn.
Ayrault also launched the Bangalore chapter of France Alumni, which will target graduates of French high education living in the region.
The platform has been joined by 35,000 alumni from 70 different countries since its inception in 2014.
It allows students to stay in the loop with their former classmates, as well as find out more about the French culture and language. Alumni can also search for the latest internships and opportunities in France on the platform.
“Four million students studied in foreign countries in 2012”
The minister, along with the French ambassador to India, Alexandre Ziegler, was also present for the signing of an MoU between French Studialis, owned by Galileo Global Education Group, and Indian higher education service provider, iNurture Education Solutions, which has over 30 higher education partners.
The agreement will establish a centre of excellence in Bangalore that will create undergraduate and master’s programmes for the coming academic year, in subjects including tourism & hospitality, digital marketing and sports & luxury management.