Mumbai: International Baccalaureate (IB) schools across Mumbai, like their metropolitan counterparts, are no strangers to its students preferring foreign universities over Indian ones when it comes to their undergraduate studies.
Though the trend persists, it has witnessed a small shift wherein private institutions in India are figuring among the top choices for students.
What’s holding back students from going abroad?
Dr. Kavita Aggarwal, Principal at D. G. Khetan International School and the Chairperson of the Members of International Schools Association (MISA), believes this change can be attributed to multiple reasons.
“Undergraduate students are a bit sceptical of climatic and medical conditions abroad coupled with an uncertain scenario across the world,” stated Aggarwal, who added that students are taking up admissions in India because universities have started offering the best of programmes.
MISA also conducted a fair of Indian universities in early 2022 which saw a huge number of students favouring universities in the country.
“More than 50-60% of students are now choosing to study in institutions at home with courses such as Design Thinking, Humanities, and Art gaining popularity,” stated Aggarwal.
Covid not the driving force
Is a global pandemic that put the world to a halt one of the driving forces behind this phenomenon? Not anymore, according to academicians.
“The reasons to stay back in India are more about the costs overseas versus staying home. Some parents are happier to support their children at home for a longer period,” said Ian Davies, who serves as the Dean of Garodia International Centre for Learning Mumbai (GICLM).
India’s private univs make a mark
Renowned private institutions have also started to accept SAT scores making it easier for students.
“Flame, Atlas Skilltech, Ashoka, O.P. Jindal, Ahmedabad University are some of the institutions which are drawing students in India,” explained Aggarwal.
Early decision numbers remain low as study-abroad options rise
US colleges, which have traditionally been popular with India’s undergraduate candidates, offer a type of early admissions during which candidates submit their applications mid-October to early November of their senior year of high school and receive a decision around mid-December.
As the College Board website explains: "Early decision plans are binding — a student who is accepted as an ED applicant must attend the college. Early action plans are non-binding — students receive an early response to their application but do not have to commit to the college until the normal reply date of May 1."
IB schools in Mumbai, which have finished their early decision process, still expect students to choose overseas destinations albeit the rise in university enrollments back home.
“Though five students from our school applied for early decisions, more and more students have shown an interest in joining the process,” said Founding CEO of Ascend International, Aditya Patil, who believes students are more clear about their university choices and the idea of studying abroad. “Students are not waiting for regular decisions anymore and trying to get the information regarding their undergraduate academics as fast as possible,” added Patil.
“15-20 students have applied for early decisions from our grade 12 batch apart from which US, UK, Canada, and Singapore are top study destinations for them,” stated Swati Gupta, Brand Development Manager and Admissions at Nahar International School.
Studying abroad still provides a sense of opportunity to students, according to the stakeholders.
“Students do appreciate the benefits of studying overseas and the marked advantages they gain in future careers and subsequent opportunities,” believes Davies, who saw 15% of the students at Garodia applying for early decisions.
UGC’s push for foreign univs could make an impact
The choice to study at home or abroad assumes significance in the backdrop of the University Grants Commission’s (UGC) draft norms which allow foreign campuses to set up campuses in India. Though experts believe it will hardly make a difference in totality, some turnaround is expected.
“If foreign universities set up shops in India at best 20-25% more undergraduate candidates, who earlier set their eyes abroad, will look to study in India,” stated one of Mumbai’s most renowned consultants, Viral Doshi. “These students could be from ISC, CBSE, or HSC boards as compared to IB,” added Doshi.
(To receive our E-paper on WhatsApp daily, please click here. To receive it on Telegram, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)