23 lakh desis went to 249 nations to study since 2017 | Bengaluru News – Times of India

BENGALURU: There is virtually no place outside the country that Indians are not studying in, albeit in smaller numbers in some nations or territories compared to others.
Between 2017 & 2022 (up to March 20), around 23.9 lakh Indians went to 249 places abroad for education, shows MEA data. US, Canada, Australia, UK and Germany continue to be top destinations, together accounting for 67% – 16.2 lakh – of the total number. Over 1.1 lakh went to neighbouring nations, including 2,181 to Pakistan, reports Chethan Kumar.
Indians are in countries in the Oceania and Polynesian islands such as Vanuatu, Tuvalu, Tokelau, Samoa, Tonga; in the Caribbean islands, British and French island territories like Saint Helena, Reunion Islands -to name a few. They are going to remote, low-ranked nations in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas but also in the immediate neighbourhood, including Pakistan and Afghanistan.
If better qualities draw them to some countries, it is the cost in some others and ease of admission in a few more. Experts say multiple variables drive the push-and-pull factors that attract Indians, including status of domestic higher education institutions.
US, Canada, Australia, UK and Germany continue to be top destinations. Countries like Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan, owing to their medical education opportunities, have seen significant migration. For instance, Ukraine (62,983) and Kyrgyzstan (51,960) each attracted more Indian students than France (31,991), and were not too far from Germany (74,181).
More than 1.1 lakh students went to countries in the neighbourhood: China (58,274), Pakistan (2,181), Bangladesh (47,686), Bhutan (152), Nepal (3,760), Myanmar (130), Afghanistan (126) and Sri Lanka (1,145).
AS Seetharamu, retired professor of education, ISEC, and former senior consultant, Sarva Shikshana Abhiyan (SSA), says: “There is a market and it depends upon multiple factors, including quality and cost. While India needs to work on the quality of higher education as we are yet to achieve the balance between equity and quality except for a handful of institutions, other factors also play a role.”
Legal expert Vikram Shroff, Leader, HR Law, Nishith Desai Associates, said: “While enough has been discussed about those going to advanced countries, those choosing lower-ranked countries could be pulled by various factors, including ease of admissions, fear of losing an academic year as they couldn’t get into their first-choice universities in India or in the bigger countries, to even cost like in Ukraine and other countries.”
He added that in several of these smaller countries the main reason, aside from cost being far more competitive than even India, could be the speed with which admission can be secured. “…Many students who do not have much time left because of not planning well in advance and also do not want to lose a year, may find these destinations attractive if they can apply and get through universities in quick time,” he said.
IIIT-B founder director Prof S Sadagopan said it was a complex issue involving multiple variables. “For instance, there are people who choose such countries because they should be able to get a seat because they can pay and don’t like going through JEE and other such entrances. There’s also loyalty. Someone’s parent went to a particular place and she/he wanted the kid to go there. And because we are a country of 1.3 billion people, every epsilon becomes a delta over the years.”

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Sagar Biswas

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