Exorbitant fees charged by Indian universities, especially those offering medical courses, and the lack of job opportunities in the country forced many students to go overseas for higher studies.
The number of Indian students choosing to study abroad has steadily increased over the years. Though there was a sudden slump in the numbers during the pandemic and lockdowns last year, a good number of students are again gearing up to move abroad.
According to the Ministry of External Affairs, 2,61,406 students from India went abroad in 2020 and 71,769 left last year. Alongside states such as Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, Kerala also sees thousands of students leaving the Indian shores to fulfil their dream of studying abroad every year.
According to the government data, 30,948 students left for countries like the US, the UK, Australia, China, Germany and Poland from Kerala in 2019, while only 29,314 students went abroad from Karnataka.
After institutions switched to the online or hybrid mode of functioning, the expectations of students have also changed. The flexible vaccination plans and various unlock policies across the globe have made it easier for them to organise their travel without any hassle, encouraging many to look forward to studying in renowned universities abroad.
Many educational consultants functioning in the state also say that with many countries easing restrictions and opening their borders, there has been an uptick in the number of students opting to study abroad.
“Just three months back, we sent five students to Ukraine for professional courses like marine engineering. However, the demand is more for medical degree courses since it’s cheaper in Ukraine when compared to our country and countries like the UK. It costs only Rs 16 lakh to Rs 20 lakh for a medical degree in Ukraine, while it costs around Rs 40 lakh to Rs 70 lakh in India.
Countries like New Zealand and Australia were closed due to the pandemic in the last two years. Though Australia opened its borders in December, New Zealand is yet to do so. However, there has been a 30 per cent increase in the number of students going to study abroad,”says Shanil Louis of SureGrow Overseas Education Consultancy Pvt Limited.
He also said many students are opting for master’s courses in the UK as they are offering the option of employment after two years. Dr Suraj Lal, director of Matha Education Consultancy, Thiruvananthapuram also affirms the number of students from the state opting to study abroad has increased, especially for medical courses.
“Ukraine was one of the most preferred countries. However, with the current situation, we don’t know if parents will be willing to send their children there in the future. Last year, many students had gone there. I also completed my doctorate in Ukraine,” he says.
Lack of opportunities
A section of educationalists cites the lack of job opportunities in our state as their reason for the large-scale migration of students to foreign countries. “People are now well-informed about the courses and job opportunities available in foreign countries. Various education consultants provide guidance to them, making things easier. The students also have the option to take up part-time jobs as they pursue their studies abroad.”
“Hence, many students travel overseas. The lack of adequate job opportunities in our state has led to many migrations. In Ukraine, more than 2,000 students from Kerala were doing their medical degree courses. This also highlights the lack of seats available in our state for professional courses, which should be definitely addressed,” said Dr J Rajan, former dean of Faculty of Management Studies, University of Kerala and member of the Kerala State Higher Education Council (KSHEC).
Dr Joy Job Kulavelil, also a member of KSHEC, said doing medical courses abroad has also become a trend. “One of the reasons is the difficulty in getting seats in medical colleges in our state. If the intelligence of the students in our state is tapped, revolutions can be brought about in many fields. Hence, an analysis should be done regarding the mass migration of Malayali students abroad,” he said.
11,33,749 Indian students study abroad as per the latest data available with the government
25,000 students approximately go abroad to study medicine each year from the country
50% Indian students study in North America, say reports
According to the government data, 30,948 students left for countries like the US, the UK, Australia, China, Germany and Poland from Kerala in 2019. According to the Ministry of External Affairs, 2,61,406 students from India went abroad in 2020 and 71,769 left last year.
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