The government has quietly rolled out a mechanism to keep an eye on all foreign students in the country, their academic activities and progress, their general conduct and also reasons for sudden exit from a course.
As part of the Union Home Ministry’s ‘Immigration, Visa, and Foreigners Registration & Tracking (IVFRT)’ project, the government is aiming to facilitate the stay as well as security of foreigners in India. Towards this aim, a central database of foreign students in India, Foreign Students Information System (FSIS), is being created to “monitor their activities/performance while studying in various educational institutions in India”.
The Human Resource Development Ministry has already written to institutes to get on board the FSIS module, and the project has begun rolling out in Chennai, Bangalore, Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Amritsar, Kolkata, Kochi, Kozhikode, Thiruvananthapuram, Lucknow and Goa. Staff at the Foreigners’ Regional Registration Offices (FRRO) have started contacting universities and colleges here to help them implement the project.
Tentative data collected by the HRD Ministry for an all-India higher education survey earlier this year showed over 20,000 foreign students currently enrolled in India. While most of them are from Nepal, there are students from Afghanistan and South Africa too in large numbers.
Project FSIS requires every institution that admits foreign students to ensure that they register online with the FRRO. The institute is required to provide information about the students every three months — if anyone has opted for a change in course, their examination/assessment results, as well as instances of doubtful/bad conduct if any.
Similarly, the entry and exit status of a student from an institute, and why he/she exited a course, is to be recorded.
The government, looking at an online database with the information, hopes to have all districts in the country covered by March 31 next year.