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Swaraj raises issues faced by Indian students in Germany

SUSHMA

BERLIN: India has raised with Germany problems like residency status, renewal of visa and accommodation faced by Indian students in the country as both sides discussed new initiatives to ramp up cooperation in the area of education.

This was conveyed by external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj to German education minister Johanna Wanka when they met here on Wednesday.

During the meeting, Swaraj apprised Wanka about difficulties being faced by some of the Indian students in pursuing their studies in Germany, like residency status, renewal of visa and accommodation, external affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said.

The number of Indian students in Germany has gone up significantly in the last few years.

Currently, more than 10,000 Indian students are studying in Germany while around 800 German students are pursuing various courses in India.

Both sides also decided to promote exchange of students as well collaboration between educational institutions of the two countries.

Wanka told Swaraj that Germany was planning to set up an international centre for advance studies in humanities and social science in India as part of a series of new initiatives to ramp up cooperation in areas of education and science and technology.

Germany agreed to participate in India’s ambitious programme — Global Initiative for Academic Networks (GIAN) under which German academician and faculties will be able to teach in educational institutions in India.

Germany has also agreed to participate in India’s skill development initiatives.

“We want closer ties with Germany in skill development initiative. The external affairs minister and German education minister discussed a whole range of issues pertaining to cooperation in education and skills sector,” Swarup, who is part of Swaraj’s delegation, said.

Both sides are also working on a number of other initiatives to ramp up cooperation in the education sector.

Asked about Germany’s plan to set up an international centre for advance studies in humanities and social science, he said, they are identifying a partner institute for it.

The sticky German language issue also figured in the meeting.

India and Germany are close to resolve the issue and an announcement about it is likely to be made during Chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit to India in the first half of October.

As per the broad understanding between the two sides, India will continue to teach German as an additional language in keeping with its three-language policy, while Germany will promote Indian languages including Sanskrit in their educational institutions.

PTI