Guntur: The Acharya Nagarjuna University and Andhra University have become preferred destinations for students from strife-torn countries like Iraq and Ethiopia.
Among the 400 foreign students pursing various courses in ANU in Guntur district, most are from Iraq.
Buddhists from Burma, Nepal and Tibet also prefer ANU due to the courses offered on Buddhism and for the varsity’s proximity to Buddhist sites like Amaravati and Ghantasala.
Meanwhile, Africans, mainly Ethiopians, prefer the Andhra University in Visakhapatnam due to the urban location of the campus.
According to academics, with the new AP capital coming up near ANU, the varsity will attract more foreign students in the near future.
ANU Vice-Chancellor Prof. K. Viyyanna Rao said, “They are preferring us due to quality education at a lower cost. Higher education in India is as good as abroad. If foreign students go to the US or UK, for the same course it will cost 10 times more than what they pay here.”
ANU International students’ quarters also have more than 50 Buddhists from Bhutan, Nepal, Burma and Sri Lanka.
“They come here for Buddhist studies. We have Mahayana Buddhism as core area of research. We are collaborating with several countries on Buddhist research. The Archeological Survey of India is also active in this region,” he said.
A Buddhist monk, Nipakalankara of Burma, who is pursuing his studies in ANU said, “We cook our food in the quarters and we have prayer room facilities here and people are receptive.”
VC Prof. Rao said, “We hope to raise the entire Rs 15 crore that will be needed for the new international block being built from the revenue generated through the foreign students. This can accommodate 300 students and it will be a green building with international standards.”
He added from that several students from Iraq were also pursuing M.Tech in the university.
“There are around 150 Iraqis who have taken up engineering, pharmacy, economics, education and management courses. The government of Iraq has shortlisted ANU as one of the 20 preferred higher education institutions,” added Mr Rao.
ANU Rector, Prof. K.R.S. Sambasiva Rao said, “We will sign an MoU with four universities of Tanzania and Ethiopia.”
In AU at Visakhapatnam, about 150 foreign students took admission in the academic year 2014-15. Nearly 50 per cent of the international students in the ongoing academic year are pursuing engineering courses.
There are a total of about 600 students from more than 50 countries in the university, said director of International Affairs, Prof B. Mohan Venkataram.
Most of them are from African nations mainly Ethiopia, followed by students from Middle Eastern countries like Iran, Dubai.