Attracting foreign students more than projected: official

May 26, 2021 - 16:31

TEHRAN – Currently, foreign nationals constitute 1.64 percent of the country's student population, which is about 0.14 percent higher than the goal set by the Sixth Five-Year National Development Plan (2016-2021).

According to the plan, some 1.5 percent of the population of university students in the country should be non-Iranian, however, the figure stood at 1.64 percent in the past Iranian calendar year (March 2020-March 2021), Afshin Akhoundzadeh, an official at the Organization of Student Affairs, said, IRNA reported on Wednesday.

Also, according to the 20-Year National Vision Document (ending 2025(, foreign students should account for 1.8 percent of the whole student population, which is likely to even reach 2 percent, Akhoundzadeh explained.

“Some 57,675 foreign nationals from 133 countries are studying in Iranian universities, 30,600 of whom are studying in universities affiliated with the Ministry of Science, while 25,000 others are receiving education in Azad University, and about 2,000 in medical universities.”

Fifty-seven percent of the international students are studying for a master's degree, 27 percent for a bachelor's degree and 15 percent are educating to receive a Ph.D., while the remaining one percent study at other levels.

Law, Persian literature and computer engineering are the top three fields of study for foreign students in Iran, while civil engineering, business management, political science, English language and literature, Quran and hadith sciences, international relations, and electrical engineering, and other majors with the highest number of non-Iranian students.

In 2013, 35 centers were allowed to admit foreign students, which has increased to 77 in 2021.

Iranian universities shine at world rankings

Times Higher Education has published its annual ranking of the world’s top universities for 2021, listing 47 Iranian universities, which shows an increase of 7 universities compared to the last year.

Six Iranian universities have been placed among the world’s top universities announced by the prestigious Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings 2021.

With 47 Iranian universities ranked among 1,527 top universities of 93 countries in the world in 2021 rankings, Iran achieved a great improvement in the academic field.

Some 21 Islamic countries were also listed in the ranking. However, Iran holds the highest share with 47 universities.

With a scientific growth rate of 10.4 percent in 2019, Iran ranked second among the top 25 countries in the world, next to China with a growth rate of 12.9 percent, according to the Web of Science website.

According to statistics released by the International Web of Science Database, Iran's citation rank has always been on the rise over the last eight years, from 24 in 2012 to 16 in 2019.

Iran ranks first in terms of the number of universities in the region and among Islamic countries, according to Shanghai Ranking’s Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) 2020.

Two Iranian universities have been ranked among the top 100 universities in Asia, according to Webometrics Ranking of World Universities for July 2020.

Moreover, 7 Iranian universities have been listed among the best 1000 worldwide; including, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Sharif University of Technology, Tarbiat Modares University, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Isfahan University of Technology, Iran University of Science and Technology.

In June 2020, THE Asia University Rankings 2020 ranked five Iranian universities among the top 100 universities worldwide.

The Center for Science and Technology Studies Leiden Ranking has placed 36 Iranian universities in the list of over 1,000 major universities worldwide in 2020 compared with 26 universities in 2019.

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