Fourteen thousand students are studying at Iran’s universities and efforts are underway to attract more international students, according to Iran’s minister of science, research, and technology, Kamran Daneshjoo.
“The improvement of the quality of universities has paved the way for the enrollment of foreign students. 14,000 foreign students from 92 countries are currently studying at Iran’s universities. And if we include the 12,000 foreign students studying at Al-Mustafa (International) University, a total of 26,000 foreign students are studying at higher education institutions in the country,” Daneshjoo said in a speech at a graduation ceremony of a number of foreign students of Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, which was held on Friday, Farheekhtegan English weekly reported.
The country’s current short-term development plan envisages the enrollment of 25,000 foreign students at Iranian universities, Mr. Daneshjoo explained, referring to Iran’s Fifth Five-Year Development Plan (2010-2015), part of the 20-Year Outlook Plan (2005-2025) which is the country’s main blueprint for long-term sustainable growth.
According to Hossein Seyyed-Mousavi, a deputy president of Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, most of the foreign students studying in Iran are from Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, and Turkey.
Iranian news agencies quoted Hassan Moselmi Naeini, the head of the science ministry’s general bureau of scholarship and overseas students affairs, as saying in April that 55,686 Iranian students were studying abroad.
“Out of this number, 8,883 students are studying in Malaysia, 7,341 in the United States, 5,638 in Canada, 3,504 in Germany, 3,364 in Turkey, 3,228 in Britain, and the rest in other countries.”
A report published by the UNESCO Institute of Statistics (UIS) in 2012 said that at least 3.6 million students in 2010 were enrolled in tertiary education abroad, up from 2 million in 2000.
The surge in internationally mobile students (students who have crossed a national border to study, or are enrolled in a distance learning program abroad) reflects the rapid expansion of enrolment in higher education globally, which has grown by 78% in a decade.
East Asia and the Pacific is the largest source of international students, representing 28% of the global total. Students from China make up one-half of this figure, or 17% of the total. The United States, Australia, and Japan are their main destinations for study.
North America and Western Europe follows, accounting for 15% of those going abroad.
In relative terms, students from Central Asia and sub-Saharan Africa are the most mobile in the world. About 6 out of 100 tertiary students from Central Asia, and 5 out of 100 from sub-Saharan Africa go away to study.
Education hubs are developing in the regions and attracting growing concentrations of mobile students. South Africa, for example, received 17% of mobile students from sub-Saharan Africa in 2010.
The Arab states have also seen a steady rise in outbound students over the past ten years, accounting for 7% of the global total. France, the United States, and the United Kingdom absorb most of these students; however, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (Dubai) are also popular destinations for high-level studies.
Several countries have more students studying abroad than at home. In Sao Tome and Principe, for example, fewer than 1,000 students were enrolled in domestic higher education institutions, representing 4% of its tertiary-age population; whereas approximately 2,500 students studied abroad, or 14% of tertiary-age population. In other words, 18% of the population of university age were enrolled in higher education programs.