With its hideous entrance destroying country after country over the last two years, the Covid-19 pandemic has cast a dark shadow over various industries. Education, on the other hand, has seen and, in many respects, continues to suffer its harshest attack. International education, to be particular.
The ad hoc travel restrictions implemented by governments to stem the spread of the virus also ended up clipping the wings of a large number of students who were planning to pursue higher education overseas. This was effectively represented in the considerable drop in the number of students who studied abroad between 2019 and 2021.
According to data from the Ministry of External Affairs, the number fell from 588,931 in 2019 to 261,406 in 2020, as many students postponed their travel plans due to the pandemic. The future looks bright for those youngsters, though, as counties try to return to a routine by decreasing their guard and lifting restrictions.
The figures are already rising. In the first two months of 2021, as many as 71,769 pupils studied abroad. The figure is only anticipated to climb in the coming months.
Many students who wanted to go despite the pandemic had to change their preferred destination country due to country-specific travel restrictions.
Australia, a popular choice, enforced a complete lockdown, forcing students to consider other countries such as France, Germany, the UAE, and even unexpected ones such as Oman in addition to the traditional suspects – the United Kingdom, the United States, and Canada.
This is an intriguing development because historically, Indian students have favoured anglophone countries such as Canada, the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom, and New Zealand.
“I am delighted to note that, despite the pandemic, a growing number of Indian students are selecting France for their study abroad,” said Emmanuel Lenain, France’s ambassador to India.
Once there, educational institutions in those countries did everything they could to support the students and ensure that they did not suffer academic losses as a result of the limitations.
Many people devised pro-student methods to restore order and normalcy. For example, for the 2021-22 academic year, Indian students registered in universities in the United Kingdom have been authorized to study online from their selected locations until April 6, 2022, giving them the freedom to choose their departure date to the United Kingdom.
The most common issue that prevents students from pursuing their study abroad goals is a lack of funds. This is when scholarships come in handy. Scholarships and other financial aid are available in the nations that attract the most Indian students. France, which provides more than Rs 10 crore in scholarships to over 500 Indian students each year, has recently emerged as one such country.
According to a representative from the French Institute in India, non-European students pay less than €4,000 euros (about Rs 3,43,450) per year for a master’s degree, whereas European students pay nearly nothing in French public universities.
There are numerous benefits to studying in a foreign nation. Countries such as the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, France, and Oman provide educational excellence through their highly ranked and known educational institutions.
“Seventy-five per cent of the cost of studies in France’s elite public institutions is covered by the French taxpayer. Whenever students are selected for a PhD, 86 per cent are funded through a doctoral contract with a university or a laboratory where almost 50 per cent of students have foreign citizenship,” she says.
In the United Kingdom, for example, computer science, engineering and technology, medicine and associated disciplines, and business management are the most popular subjects among Indian students.
Furthermore, countries such as the United Kingdom give students with industry-related experience by offering a variety of internships, training programs, and part-time career options that students can pursue in addition to their education.
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