Good, bad, and ugly for India's study abroad growth in 2023

Good, bad, and ugly for India's study abroad growth in 2023

Spring intakes in January might serve lesser university options but are usually seen as the ‘second chance’ that most students can bank on.

Abhishek NairUpdated: Wednesday, January 04, 2023, 12:32 PM IST
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Good, bad, and ugly for India's study abroad growth in 2023 | Photo: Pixabay

Going abroad for studies is no longer a luxury with affordability and better services on the rise and 2023 will witness a similar pattern.

For most students, who wish to study abroad, spring intakes in January might serve lesser university options but are usually seen as the ‘second chance’ that they can bank on.

Taking that opportunity will be important for students who couldn’t join more than 600,000 of their peers in 2022, which is the number of Indian nationals who attained a study visa last year according to data presented by the Centre in Rajya Sabha.

Top universities, newer markets set to define 2023

“Study abroad will continue to grow in 2023. Students see huge value in studying at good universities in the US, UK, Canada, EU, Singapore, and Australia,” stated Karan Gupta, founder of the Karan Gupta Education Foundation, who added that more than 200,00 Indian students are studying abroad every year, especially since the Covid-19 pandemic.

Predictions of 1.8 million Indian students studying abroad by 2024 have already flooded the news feeds with the hype not being limited to the US, UK, Australia, and Canada but also to Ukraine, Germany, Russian Federation, Kyrgyzstan, Bangladesh, Australia, Kazakhstan, and France.

With a newer crop of countries joining the list, their presence in India in the form of study fairs, webinars, offices, etc has already started happening.

Italian government’s educational arm Uni-Italia conducted its first ‘Study In Italy’ fair in Mumbai with the presence of 15+ universities from the country, while Irish government agency Enterprise Ireland-backed Education In Ireland interacted with hopeful students in cities such as Mumbai, Bangalore, Kolkata, etc.

“Students are now willing to explore more diverse destinations and newer countries may expand their marketing and presence in India,” stated Joyce Isaac, Founder of Providence Education Advisory.

Despite Covid surge, relevant courses to keep students determined

India reported 2,582 fresh COVID cases and 222 recoveries on January 2 a slight increase from 173 reported cases on January 1, 2023, according to the official data by the Ministry of Health and Family Affairs released on Tuesday.

The current Covid surge amid the spread of Omicron’s new sub-variants though concerning might not affect the plans of students, who are looking forward to pursuing courses in multidisciplinary areas.

“Provided the covid situation remains under control, the surge from India will continue. Indian students will seek to study interdisciplinary subject areas. AI, ML, Imaging, and analytics will have more takers,” stated Lakshmi Iyer, who serves as the Managing Director of SI-UK, India operations.

Unique challenges to affect Indian students in 2023

Though there are positives in this growth story, some new and old challenges will persist in 2023, according to international education consultants.

“Rising inflation will make studying abroad more expensive with many students being forced to take larger loans and needing scholarships from universities,” believes Gupta.

While student visa backlogs have resulted in a roller-coaster ride for prospective students, pandemic-induced external factors will also prove to be a testy time for the latter.

“Energy prices in Europe and the UK will push the cost of living up. Recession setting in could mean the job market will be depressed which is a primary concern for Indian students,” added Iyer.

After receiving their degree, international students can stay in the UK and work or look for work at any skill level for two years under the Graduate route, or three years in the case of doctorate students. But these benefits will remain futile without a roof over the head.

With countries like the UK hitting the 600,000 international students’ target ten years ahead of time, student housing or accommodation, which usually takes almost half of a pupil’s expenditure, is under crisis mode, the Free Press Journal reported earlier.

“2023 will not be indifferent with regards to the accommodation crisis though more buildings and supply are set to come in. As soon as students decide on a country and city or receive an offer letter, they need to start looking for accommodation while also applying for university halls and private apartments,” stated Saurabh Arora, Founder, and CEO at University Living, a student housing marketplace. “Students can block their rooms abroad by depositing between 150-250 pounds even before they get their visa just like they follow other procedures of counselling, IELTS prep, etc without having one as booking an accommodation later can be competitive,” added Arora.

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