Challenges and Opportunities in the Context of Internationalization of Higher Education

The World Bank’s 1991 ‘World Development Report’ has made a very interesting observation that the scientific and technological progress and enhanced productivity in any nation have a close link with investment in human capital as well as the quality of the economic environment. Scientific and technological capabilities are, however, unevenly distributed in the world and are linked with the education system in a nation.

The 21st century has seen quite massive changes in higher education systems both in terms of complexity of the systems and also in terms of its utility for converting education into an effective tool for social and economic changes. A very interesting relationship is emerging among education, knowledge, conversion of knowledge into suitable entities from trade point of view, wealth and economy.

Internationalization of education includes the policies and practices undertaken by academic systems and institutions-and even individuals-to cope with the global academic environment. The motivations for internationalization include commercial advantage, knowledge and language acquisition, enhancing the curriculum with international content, and many others. Specific initiatives such as branch campuses, cross-border collaborative arrangements, programs for international students, establishing English-medium programs and degrees, and others have been put into place as part of internationalization. Efforts to monitor international initiatives and ensure quality are integral to the international higher education environment.

The higher education system across the world has witnessed two more interesting revolutions. The first is connected with the advent and use of computers in teaching and learning as well as research and the second is linked with communication revolution. Today, education transcends across the geographical boundaries. Besides, the structure and context of academic work also has undergone a tremendous change. Student diversity and the administrative and pedagogical demands of new modes of curricula delivery characterize the academic’s everyday working environment.

The accomplishment of any educational change is linked with the readiness of teachers to implement new methods and innovative practices. The present paper is an attempt to understand the role of teachers in internationalization of higher education in India. The focus of the present paper is to be acquainted with the challenges and opportunities for faculty in the context of internationalization of higher education and their inclination to adapt the change.

Review of literature:

A growing number of papers and studies document the many ways in which the university experience of students, academic and administrative staff has been radically transformed [Chandler & Clark 2001, Deem 2001]. Student diversity and the administrative and pedagogical demands of new modes of curricula delivery characterize the academic’s everyday working environment. Identities as academics are under constant challenge as academic staff take on multiple and often conflicting roles as consultants, researchers, teachers, counselors and international marketers. Support for academics involved in international activities is scarce and the central strategic control of resources with its demands for flexibility compromises the quality of academic life.

A qualitative study examines the role of international experience in the transformative learning of female educators as it relates to professional development in a higher education context. It also investigates how the learning productions of these experiences were transferred to the participants’ home country. Nine American female faculty and administrators who worked at universities in Arab countries in the Gulf region participated in this study. The results suggest that the transformative learning of the female educators was reflected in three themes: changes in personal and professional attitudes, experiencing a new classroom environment that included different students’ learning style and unfamiliar classroom behavior, and broadening of participants’ global perspectives. Another study sought to assess how and why some higher education institutions have responded to aspects of globalization and, in particular how organizational culture influences universities’ responses to globalization. Using a predominantly qualitative, mixed-methods approach, empirical research was used to explore the impact of globalization at four Canadian universities. A multiple, case-study approach was used to achieve a depth of understanding to establish the universities’ culture, institutional strategies, and practices in response to globalization.

Context of the study:

Political & educational context

Everyone recognizes that India has a serious higher education problem. Although India’s higher education system, with more than 13 million students, is the world’s third largest, it only educates around 12 per cent of the age group, well under China’s 27 per cent and half or more in middle-income countries. Thus, it is a challenge of providing access to India’s expanding population of young people and rapidly growing middle class. India also faces a serious quality problem – given that only a tiny proportion of the higher education sector can meet international standards. The justly famous Indian Institutes of Technology and the Institutes of Management, a few specialized schools such as the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research constitute tiny elite, as do one or two private institutions such as the Birla Institute of Technology and Science, and perhaps 100 top-rated undergraduate colleges. Almost all of India’s 480 public universities and more than 25,000 undergraduate colleges are, by international standards, mediocre at best. India has complex legal arrangements for reserving places in higher education to members of various disadvantaged population groups. Often setting aside up to half of the seats for such groups, places further stress on the system.

Capacity problem

India faces severe problems of capacity in its educational system in part because of underinvestment over many decades. More than a third of Indians remain illiterate after more than a half century of independence. A new law that makes primary education free and compulsory, while admirable, it takes place in a context of scarcity of trained teachers, inadequate budgets, and shoddy supervision. The University Grants Commission and the All-India Council for Technical Education, responsible respectively for supervising the universities and the technical institutions, are being abolished and replaced with a new combined entity. But no one knows just how the new organization will work or who will staff it. India’s higher education accrediting and quality assurance organization, the National Assessment and Accreditation Council, which was well-known for its slow movement, is being shaken up. But, again, it is unclear how it might be changed.

Current plans include the establishing of new national “world-class” universities in each of India’s States, opening new IITs, and other initiatives. The fact is that academic salaries do not compare favorably with remuneration offered by India’s growing private sector and are uncompetitive by international standards. Many of India’s top academics are teaching in the United States, Britain, and elsewhere. Even Ethiopia and Eritrea recruit Indian academics.

Welcoming foreign universities:

Very recently it is announced that the government of India is preparing itself for permitting foreign universities to enter the Indian market. The foreigners are expected to provide the much needed capacity and new ideas on higher education management, curriculum, teaching methods, and research. It is hoped that they will bring investment. Top-class foreign universities are anticipated to add prestige to India’s postsecondary system. All of these assumptions are at the very least questionable. While foreign transplants elsewhere in the world have provided some additional access, they have not dramatically increased student numbers. Almost all branch campuses are small and limited in scope and field. In the Persian Gulf, Vietnam, and Malaysia, where foreign branch campuses have been active, student access has been only modestly affected by them. Branch campuses are typically fairly small and almost always specialized in fields that are inexpensive to offer and have a ready clientele such as business studies, technology, and hospitality management. Few branch campuses bring much in the way of academic innovation. Typically, they use tried and true management, curriculum, and teaching methods. The branches frequently have little autonomy from their home university and are, thus, tightly controlled from abroad.

Foreign providers will bring some investment to the higher education sector, particularly since the new law requires an investment of a minimum of $11 million – a kind of entry fee – but the total amount brought into India is unlikely to be very large. Global experience shows that the large majority of higher education institutions entering a foreign market are not prestigious universities but rather low-end institutions seeking market access and income. Top universities may well establish collaborative arrangement with Indian peer institutions or study/research centers in India, but are unlikely to build full-fledged branch campuses on their own. There may be a few exceptions, such as the Georgia Institute of Technology, which is apparently thinking of a major investment in Hyderabad.

Indian education is a joint responsibility of the Central and State governments – and many States have differing approaches to higher education generally and to foreign involvement in particular. Some, such as Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, have been quite interested. Other States such as West Bengal with its communist government may be more sceptical. And a few, such as Chhattisgarh have been known to sell access to university status to the highest bidders.

Significance of study:

The volatile situation in higher education system vis-à-vis internationalization of higher education creates many opportunities as well as challenges to the teachers of higher education. Pressures for change in the field of teacher education are escalating significantly as part of systemic education reform initiatives in a broad spectrum of economically developed and developing nations. Considering these pressures, it is surprising that relatively little theoretical or empirical analysis of learning and change processes within teacher education programs have been undertaken. The present study considers this situation and makes an endeavor to understand the challenges faced or anticipated by the teaching faculty in the context of internalization of education.

Aims of the study:

The present study is aimed to understand and analyze the position of college teachers in general and those of working undergraduate colleges.

Data collection:

Locale of the study:

Data for the present study is collected from the college teachers situated at Hyderabad. Colleges in Hyderabad are generally affiliated to Osmania University. In addition to various colleges, the city is home to three central universities, two deemed universities, and six state universities. Osmania University, established in 1917, is the seventh oldest university in India and the third oldest in South India. Indian School of Business, an international business school ranked number 12 in global MBA rankings by the Financial Times of London in 2010 is also located in Hyderabad.

Colleges in Hyderabad offer graduation and post graduation and post graduation programmes in science, arts, commerce, law & medicine. College of Engineering – Osmania University, Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Indian Institute of Technology, etc. are some of the famous engineering colleges in Hyderabad. In addition to engineering colleges, various institutes known as polytechnics offer a three year course in engineering. Gandhi Medical College and Osmania Medical College are the centers of medical education in Hyderabad. Colleges and universities in Hyderabad are run by either by state government, central government or private individuals or agencies. Hyderabad Central University, Nalsar, NIPER, Potti Sreeramulu Telugu University, Maulana Azad National Urdu University, English and Foreign Languages University, Acharya N.G. Ranga Agricultural University, are some of the other universities located in Hyderabad.

Universe and sample:

There are 146 degree colleges offering undergraduate courses [B.Sc., B.Com, and B.A] situated at Hyderabad. Teachers working in these colleges are taken as universe for the present study. Most of these colleges are having academic consultants whose tenure is limited either to one term or one academic year. Academic consultants are not eligible for faculty development programmes of the University Grants Commission. Various programmes meant for faculty development are available for aided college teachers. Hence, the present study has selected aided college teachers working at Hyderabad as a sub category of the universe. At the outset, a focused group interview is conducted in order to collect information as to the willingness to train oneself for internationalization of higher education. Out of 150 lecturers participated in this focused group interview fifty were selected as sample for the present study by using random sampling method.

Data for the present study is collected by using in-depth interview method with the help of a schedule. Information as to the socio-economic characteristics of the respondents, educational achievements, awareness of national and global career structures, research culture, working conditions, information as to the strategies adapted by the college in order to equip for internationalization is collected. Data collection is done during the months of march-may 2010.

The qualitative information on awareness and availability of national and global career structures, strategies for integrating the international dimension, professional development, needs post-doctoral research culture, refresher courses and working conditions was collected by using case study method by using in-depth interviews.

National and global career structures:

Kaulisch and Enders [2005, pp.131-32] note that faculty work is shaped by three overlapping sets of institutions: 1] the generic science system, and systems in each discipline which to a varying extent are cross-national, emphasize the autonomy and mobility of researchers, and foster competition based on scholarly merit and prestige; 2] rules about work, competition and careers, where academic work is embedded in national policy and cultural settings; and 3] the organizational operations of universities, which both reflect national and local traditions and are touched by common trends such as massification, growing expectations about social relevance and the nationally-parallel global transformations. A fourth element in the mix that might be of growing importance is the impact of internationalization and globalization on academic careers.

The present study finds that the available opportunities for the teaching faculty are based on all these four elements. Most of the respondents experienced interplay of all these elements in their work life. More than fifty per cent of the respondents felt that the massification of education is burdensome and acting as an obstacle for faculty improvement.

Faculty mobility has long been a positive professional norm though varying by nation and field [El-Khawas, 2002, pp.242-43] and also varying somewhat in motive. A small number of researchers have expertise and reputations that confer superior opportunities in many countries. However, most teaching faculty have primarily national careers and use cross-border experience to advance their position at home, traveling mostly at the doctoral and postdoctoral stages and for short visits. A third group consists of faculty with lesser opportunities at home compared to abroad, due to remuneration or conditions of work, the denial of national careers due to social or cultural closure, or an economic freeze on hiring. This group has less transformative potential than elite researchers.

Excellence in education will require improvement in infrastructure, well-crafted courses, e-learning materials, access to laboratories, computational facilities and above all well-trained and highly motivated teachers. When asked about the availability of resources and opportunities for research, 78 per cent of the respondents opined that there are many bottlenecks. In most of the colleges, e-learning, internet facilities are not available. Even their college libraries mostly will have books useful for the undergraduate students rather than useful for further research by the teaching faculty. Most of the respondents felt that they are not exposed to the pedagogical methods acceptable internationally. Hence, their awareness about the teaching methods is not much. At the same time, they were not trained in teaching-learning process relevant for internationalized educational system while doing their post-graduation or pre-doctoral/doctoral level.

Strategies for integrating the internal dimension:

There are many ways to describe the initiatives which are undertaken to internationalize an institution. They are often referred to as activities, components, procedures or strategies. In the process oriented approach to internationalization, emphasis is placed on the concept of enhancing and sustaining the international dimensions of research. Most of the colleges in general, autonomous colleges and colleges with potential for excellence are following the process oriented approach. Yet, the faculty is not ready to equip themselves for this internationalization. The reasons mentioned by the respondents include more work, fear of losing job, lengthy working hours, high aided-unaided teaching faculty ratio, low job satisfaction levels and lack of facilities at the institutional level.

Professional Development Needs

Faculty members, or academic staff, as they are called in many countries, constitute a critical ingredient influencing the quality and effectiveness of higher education institutions. Universities in the developing world cannot respond to external changes and pressures without the involvement of capable, committed, and knowledgeable faculty members. The challenge for many faculty members, however, is that they are being asked to fulfill tasks and assume roles for which they are not adequately prepared. Besides, there are not many training centers to well equip them. Academic staff colleges are providing refresher and orientation courses but these courses are attended by those whose promotions are linked with attending refresher courses.

Post-doctoral research culture

Unlike the advanced countries, where a large pool of post-doctoral research fellows carries out the bulk of high-quality research, there is a near total absence of a post-doctoral culture in India.79 per cent of the respondents expressed their willingness to pursue post-doctoral research but said that they are not able to do due to financial problems.

Although the number of women at post-graduate and doctoral levels in various universities is high, very few of them make sufficient advance in their careers for a variety of social reasons. Women teachers and teachers studied in vernacular medium felt that though they are interested their family responsibilities and problem of language and communication act as major challenges for them.


Higher education in India has entered into a new phase with the invasion of foreign universities and increasing aspirations of Indian students. This has created a need to revive the pedagogical methods. But the question still remains, whether the teaching faculty are ready to accept these changes or not? It is found in the present study that the teachers are ready to accept the challenges of global teaching. The need of the hour is to equip Indian teachers than permitting the foreign universities to establish their campuses in India. This requires a appropriate teacher education which can address the issue of organizational learning.

Charles A. Peck, Chrysan Gallucci, Tine Sloan and Ann Lippincott [2009] illustrated some ways in which contemporary socio-cultural learning theory may be used as a lens for addressing the issues of organizational learning in teacher education. Using a theoretical framework developed by Harré [1984], they showed how processes of individual and collective learning led to changes in a teacher education program. Important innovations in program practice were generally found to have their sources in the creative work of individual faculty. However program level changes required negotiation of new ideas and practices within small groups of faculty, and with the larger collective of the program. The present study would like to conclude that the Harré model, and the socio-cultural learning theories from which it is derived, may offer a useful theoretical framework for interpreting complex social processes underlying organizational renewal, innovation, and change.


El-Khawas, E. 2002 “Developing Academic Career in a Globalizing World”, in J.Enders and O. Fulton [ed.] Higher Education in a Gobalizing World: International Trends and Muual Observations, Kluwer, Dordrecht, pp.242-54

Charles A. Peck, Chrysan Gallucci, Tine Sloan and Ann Lippincott [2009] Organizational learning and program renewal in teacher education: A socio-cultural theory of learning, innovation and change, Educational Research Review Volume 4, Issue 1, 2009, Pages 16-25

Harré, R. (1984). Personal being: A theory for individual psychology. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press

Can You Trust Your Doctor? A Medical Heretic Exposes the Medical Mystique

Most people think highly of their doctors. They want their physicians to be objective, scientific, detached, and yet caring, compassionate, and sensitive. In short, they want doctors who are more like healing saints than human beings.

It makes sense that people would want this of their doctors. When you are lying on the examination table with the doctor probing your anus, vagina, penis, or other embarrassing organ, you want to believe that the person doing this to you is pure, wholesome, honest, competent, and doing what’s best for you. You don’t want to think that the doctor is some pervert with a degree and license to abuse.

Well, I’m afraid I have some bad news for you. I’ve been in medicine, and I know.

Put yourself in the shoes of a doctor. At one time, he or she was just like you, a layperson. They went to kindergarten and grade school and did what they were told, learned how to take examinations and get the expected answers, and as a result made high grades. They kept doing this until they got into medical school. They were selected for their grades and test scores.

For some jobs, applicants need to take personality tests, to give some indication of their character. Are they antisocial, are they honest, would they steal? You would want to know this about employees before giving them a job. Yet, for those applying for the job of doctor, there is no such character testing. Applicants are selected by academic testing. And these people will be trusted with human lives.

Would getting high scores in chemistry or physics or math make you a great doctor? Of course not. Does knowing physiology, anatomy, and biochemistry make you compassionate? They may make you a good physiologist, anatomist, or biochemist, but they have nothing to do with compassion. In fact, since most medical sciences are heavily reliant on cruel animal research, torturing and killing millions of dogs, cats, monkeys, rats, and other animals each year, there is nothing farther from compassion than the field of medicine.

Indeed, medical education is deliberately designed to desensitize laypeople to blood and guts so they can become doctors. Dealing with sick people, some in severe pain, anxious, fearful, helpless, requires a cool head. It is important that doctors keep calm when everyone else is over the edge. In the real world, of course, you need to learn how to be cool and collected in a crisis. Since the medical student is not selected on anything but test scores, the fact is that most students cannot live up to this ideal. If all you had to do with patients was to get their health history in written form and take a test on what drug to give them, it would be no problem for doctors, especially if the tests are multiple choice as they are in medical school and on medical licensing tests.

But medical care requires different skills and personalities than just taking multiple choice tests. That is why medicine has so many specialties for students to choose from. Medical school takes four years to complete. The first two years are textbooks and laboratories. The last two years you get to try different medical specialties for a few weeks to a couple of months, to see what suits your fancy. Some people like the thrill of a crisis. They usually go into emergency medicine. They enjoy the adrenaline rush of a heart attack or car crash. They don’t like to see people slowly die from chronic disease and medication side effects. They prefer the medical quicky to long term commitment. Come in, get patched up, and get referred to some other doctor for follow-up.

Others who get a jolt from stress go into surgery. Imagine the rush you feel when you cut open some stranger’s chest, blood spurting everywhere, nurses handing you clamps to stop the flow, machines beeping faster to the patient’s pulse and respiration, sweat swabbed from your dripping brow by the nurse, the anesthesiologist warning that the patient is going into cardiac arrest, and all the while staying above the fray in your outward demeanor, cracking dirty jokes with the nurses, and talking timeshare resorts with the anesthesiologist. What a job!

For those who prefer being more like the old time doctor, there is family medicine. You get to see kids, parents, pregnant mothers, old people, the whole gamut of humanity, and with all sorts of problems. When the going gets tough, you just send them to some other specialist. People get to trust you and tell you their life secrets. This is medicine lite, a great specialty for laid back people.

I remember a family physician I went to for a check-up on my 30th birthday, at a time in my life before I get into medicine and when I still believed in getting routine check-ups. He did a thorough exam, including a rectal exam to look for prostate enlargement and other signs of inflammation. I didn’t expect it. “Pull your pants down and bend over,” he told me. He was a tall, blond, handsome doctor, about 6′ 4″, unmarried, but apparently heterosexual. “Is that really necessary?”, I asked. “Yup.” So over I bent. He put a little condom on his finger, slipped some vasoline jelly on it, and in it went, as I puckered with displeasure. “How’s your sex life?” he asked while pausing inside to get his bearings. “Just fine,” I answered, slightly miffed that he didn’t even take me out to lunch.

Not long after I had been admitted to medical school. Before I started classes I went to volunteer at a local low income health clinic, hoping to get some more experience. They dressed me in a white lab coat, called me a “student-doctor”, and in no time I was doing a pelvic exam on an 18 year old woman. The doctor did the exam first, and then instructed me to feel for the cervix as I uncomfortably slipped my gloved hand inside the strange woman’s slightly odoriferous vagina. My layperson days were ending. I was already being given access to peoples’ bodies.

Some guys would have been envious, I suppose, so long as pus doesn’t turn you off. Imagine what type of guys become gynecologists. They get to tell women to strip for them all day long, all types of women. They then get to stick their fingers inside their vaginas, anuses, and feel their breasts. They want their patients to feel they are experts on women, even though they are only men and never had a period, wore a bra, or had some strange guy probe their vaginas.

Of course, there is a down side to this specialty. What would it do to your sense of women to have to examine pusy, smelly, diseased vaginas everyday? When your wife gets amorous, do you reflexively reach for your glove and lubricant?

While most gynecologists are men, urologists are not mostly women. Women are willing to have a strange doctor probe their genitalia. But most men would feel strange to have a woman doctor probe their penises. Of course, it feels strange having a man probe your penis, too. What kind of man gets attracted to urology and a lifetime specialty of dealing with penile and prostate problems?

The same can be asked of proctologists. Imagine, as a medical student, if you would find it exciting to work with rectums and colons. What would it do to your sense of humanity to see butts all day long, year after year?

As you can see, it could be difficult to make a choice of specialty. If you are really an idealistic person and came to medicine to end suffering, you are in for some disappointment and grief. I know a rheumatologist who could no longer cope with seeing her patients slowly die, unable to do much to alleviate their suffering. She decided to change specialties and become an anesthesiologist, so all her patients would be unconscious and she wouldn’t have to get to know them personally.

Those medical students who fit no other mold and are slightly strange themselves usually become psychiatrists, escaping the blood and guts by seeking the mind. Psychiatrists who are themselves a basket case often feel great emotional relief and increased self-esteem by simply listening to other peoples’ problems all day long, making psychiatry very therapeutic for the doctor. This is an especially attractive specialty for medical students who enjoy LSD or peyote and stayed high through most of their basic sciences training. They can really get into peoples’ twisted fantasies and hallucinations. But beware of the power hungry shrink. They can call you crazy, lock you up, and keep you drugged out of your mind for the rest of your life, if they want to.

Indeed, doctors have all sorts of powers over the public. They are licensed to practice on people with drugs and surgery. As a doctor, you can accidentally kill a patient, or make it look accidental, and get away with it if you can show that it was standard medical procedure. And you can even bill the deceased patient’s estate for services. Now that’s power. This power is attractive to some people, which is why they became doctors in the first place. Of course, as in politics, anyone attracted to power is precisely the kind of person that shouldn’t get it. People growing up wanting to be called “Doctor” all the time and have the power, money, and prestige our culture gives to the medical profession are not necessarily the best people to treat patients fairly, sensitively, and with the patient’s interests foremost in mind. These doctors do not serve their patient’s health needs. The patients serve their doctor’s power needs.

Along with the power of medicine comes the money. Above all else, medicine is a business. It is in the business of treating disease, which means the doctor makes out best when you are sick, not when you are well. This puts the doctor, like the auto mechanic, invested in you breaking down. It means the doctor is invested in sickness and treatment, and is the enemy of health and prevention. If you went to medical school to help heal humanity, this sad fact about the basic, underlying financial impetus of medicine may be enough to make you quit the profession. It made me quit. It made me also realize that if you want to be healthy, you need to stop doing things that make you sick, including going to doctors.

So the next time you are being probed, keep in mind that the person doing the probing is no different from anyone else. They are not necessarily saints who vow poverty to treat the sick and help prevent disease. They are not necessarily unbiased, objective, mature people who can distance their personal feelings from their work. They are just regular people who have been given a license to practice on you. They have the same perversions, biases, stupidity, self-interest, and petty lives as the rest of humanity, but are attracted to the lucrative and powerful business of disease.

Say, “Ah!”

Medical Tourism in India – Top 5 Reasons for the Boom

Western shores are no longer ‘greener’ for people living in India who used to rush to countries such as U.S.A and U.K in the hope of finding better medical facilities.

The burgeoning Medical Tourism industry has witnessed the flow of medical tourists from the Western countries to developing nations such as India. So, what has led to emergence of this inverse trend?

Poised to be India’s next big industry, the medical tourism industry in the country is growing by leaps and bounds. Ranked by many surveys as the top 5 destinations in the world, India plays host to more than 150,000 medical tourists every year. The Indian healthcare industry is expected to become a US$280 billion industry by 2020. A CII-McKinsey report that India’s medical tourism sector is likely to experience an astonishing growth rate of 30% per year and the country’s earnings through medical tourism would go up to $2 billion by this year.

Let’s take a look at the top five reasons for India’s popularity as a medical destination.

1. Cost: According to a report published in the leading magazine BusinessWorld report, a heart bypass surgery will incur an expenditure of US$144,000 in the U.S., US$25,000 in Costa Rice, US$24,000 in Thailand, US$20,000 in Mexico and US$8,500 in India. The competitive pricing of the Indian medical tourism industry is its most lucrative aspect. The heart surgery centers, dental clinics, orthopedic centers and bariatric surgery centers are offering services at a significantly lesser price as compared to America and U.K. An orthopedic surgery in Apollo hospital at New Delhi, India costs about $6300 as compared to $20,000 that it costs in the U.S. Also, dental implants cost only about $900 in Indian dental clinics as compared to around $3,500 in the U.S

2. Quality of Medical Care:The second reason for India’s popularity as a medical destination is the availability of state of the art medical equipment and cutting edge technology. India has the largest number of USFDA (U.S. Food and Drugs Administration)-approved drug manufacturing units outside the U.S. The private hospitals in India, namely the chain of ‘Apollo Hospitals’ that runs more than 50 hospitals with over 8,500 beds in the major cities of India such as New Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai and Kolkata and ‘Max Healthcare’ that runs eight medical centers in the city of New Delhi alone, have helped establish India’s renown as a country that boasts of world-class medical facilities. Apollo Hospitals attract the largest numbers of international patients followed by hospitals such as Max, Fortis and Workhardt. Other popular hospitals in India include the Escorts Hospital and Research Centre, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Kerala Institute of Medical Sciences and Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases. The country has also adopted the Public Private Partnership (PPP) Model to provide a boost to the healthcare infrastructure in the country.

3. Wellness Tourism.India is home to wellness tourism, one of the emerging trends in the medical tourism industry. The Indian Spa industry offers a mix of traditional Ayurvedic, Chinese and Thai techniques. Medical tourists from all over the world travel to India for spa and wellness vacations and preventive health services that include DNA testing and stem-cell banking. Indian Spa industry boasts of almost 2,300 spas run by 20-25 spa centers that are spread over small and big towns, mostly concentrated in the Southern states of States of Kerala and Karnataka. The alternative healing massages of Kerala are especially popular among the tourists. Birla Kerala Vaidyashala Ayurvedic Spa Services is one of the popular spa centers in the country.

4. Exotic Location.Theenticing beauty of Taj Mahal, the pristine beaches of Goa & the soothing backwaters of Kerala, the exotic locations of Rajasthan & Jaisalmer and the spectacular scenery of Kanyakumari are some of the tourist attractions that add to the mesmerizing charm of the country. The country provides a perfect gateway to a rejuvenating holiday for the medical tourists.

5. Highly Qualified Doctors: India produces the largest number of doctors, nurses and medical technicians in the world. The country produces around 30,000 doctors and nurses each year. The British influence on the medical education and the ability to speak English fluently has helped further develop global health care in the country. Many of the doctors in India have either studied in the top medical institutions of the world or have received their training abroad. Most doctors in India are bilingual, board certified and accustomed to dealing with foreign patients.

All these reasons make India an ideal destination for those seeking an escape from the exorbitant costs of medical treatment in their own country. Not only are the low costs of various medical facilities, such as the cost of gastric sleeve in India, tempting enough for the medical tourists, but also the chance to explore this fascinating country that attracts them in hordes every year.