Iranian universities can admit up to 90,000 foreign students

June 19, 2021 - 21:0

TEHRAN – A total of 57,000 foreign students are studying in Iran, which can be increased to 90,000 considering the capacity of universities, Farid Rahimi, head of the non-Iranian students’ affairs at the Ministry of Science has stated.

According to the Sixth Five-Year National Development Plan (2016-2021), Iranian universities are projected to attract about 75,000 foreign students, IRNA reported on Saturday.

The universities have the capacity to admit up to 90,000 foreign students, however, it requires the creation of appropriate educational infrastructure, the expansion of diplomacy, appropriate publicity, and so on, Rahimi explained.

Currently, foreign nationals constitute 1.64 percent of the country's student population.

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, Afshin Akhoundzadeh, an official at the Organization of Student Affairs, said.

“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 global rankings 2021

Most recently, thirty-six Iranian universities have been listed among more than 1,000 major universities worldwide, according to the Center for Science and Technology Studies Leiden Ranking for 2021.

The 2021 Times Higher Education Impact Rankings has listed 27 Iranian universities among the 1,115 most effective institutions worldwide.

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

Times Higher Education also 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.

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.

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