Campuses in the West have for long been wooing young Indians, with education fairs, road shows and special admission campaigns nudging thousands to pick up brochures that give a peek into college life in Europe. While studying in Oxbridge still remains the highest academic aspiration among the youth here, between 2000 and 2009, the number of Indian students in foreign countries has grown by 256% or three-and-a-half times.
Going by the findings of a study conducted by the Indian Institute of Management-Bangalore, the profile of the internationally mobile Indian students is changing. Traditionally, north Indians flocked to Europe for higher education, but increasingly, students from Gujarat as well as the southern states are making a beeline for institutes in those countries, with one in every two Indians studying in the UK being a woman. And when it comes to scholarships and grants, most of them are bagged by students from southern India, shows the study, ‘Indian student mobility to selected European countries: An Overview’.
The paper is part of a research project financed by the European Union (EU) and carried out by Rupa Chanda and Shahana Mukherjee at IIM-B, researchers at the European University Institute, Indian Council of Overseas Employment, and Maastricht University (Faculty of Law). One-year Master’s programmes in business and management have been the most popular field, but many engineering and mathematics and computer science aspirants also head for Europe. “But healthcare, English and linguistics are not gaining popularity,” notes the study.
According to the study, there has been a steady annual rise of 7% Indians travelling overseas for a degree. More than 53,000 Indians went abroad in 2000 and at the end of the decade, the count shot up to 1.9 lakh. While the US has been steady in the top slot of having most number of Indian students, education magnet UK has been a close second. However, the interest in the US seems to have slipped, albeit slightly, as other countries like Australia hard sell their universities. The US’s loss also seems to be adding up to Europe’s gain. Across the globe, the UK attracts the second largest contingent of international students and since 2009, about 17% Indian students have been visiting there annually; after all, Indians comprise the second largest group of international students in the UK.
Between 2000 and 2009, the count of Indian students in Europe has increased from 3,348 to 51,556, with the UK separately logging a rise from 3,962 to 36,105. But across Europe, Germany and France get most of
remaining Indian students. “Indian students are now also exploring other countries such as Sweden, Italy and Ireland, where education is considerably cheaper and part-time jobs are easier to secure,” said the researchers.
TCS Insights: The US and UK have traditionally been the most preferred destinations for Indian students, however increasing awareness of Canadian education is making Canada an ever more attractive choice. Canadian institutions that desire to recruit in India have an array of promotional activities available to them. The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service education team for India is undertaking new innovations for promotion, including third party events and webinars for schools.