Students across India are increasingly opting to study abroad. Though Covid-19 turned out to be a roadblock for many students who aimed to start their academic year in 2020, reduced cases and ease of restrictions proved to be a boon for them as they were able to join their respective universities in countries such as the US, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand.
The move abroad has its own benefits, but also comes with challenges. While Indian students are finding studying abroad to be more affordable, uncertainty in their future caused by internal conflicts and domestic policies of the countries they move to has also proved to be a hindrance for them. The Free Press Journal spoke to International Education Consultants in Mumbai who shared their thoughts on a wide range of subjects that concern students wanting to go abroad.
USA and non-STEM options
On the question of whether or not she witnessed major shifts in students going abroad, post the peak of the pandemic, Roshan Dhariwal from Edupeer, an international education consultancy, said that though there was confusion among students in 2020 they have picked up from where they left off.
Roshan Dhariwal |
“Two years ago, a lot of universities waived off test requirements due to the unavailability of test locations and a lot of the education moved online. Students either held back their global study plans or deferred an International Study Admit to the following year. Now since things are going back to normal, we see a slight change in the trend where a lot of students are consciously choosing countries other than the USA. That’s only because the USA has a STEM bias, and unless you are pursuing STEM studies, it may not be your best bet,” said Roshan who added that in 2021 because the market started getting back to normal, students’ plans to study abroad became firmer.
Union Budget 22 implications
Covid has also led to the introduction of facilities such as E-Passports, Digital Universities, etc in the Union Budget to which consultants have varying opinions on the impact it will create on education abroad.
Joyce Issac |
“You will still need a passport as a form of identification, regardless of being digital or physical, if you want to go abroad. And in the case of Digital Universities, most students that we have interacted with go abroad not just for the experience of learning but also to explore the culture, atmosphere and much more that cannot be replaced by the latter,” said Joyce Isaac, who runs a consultancy named Providence Education Advisory in Nerul.
He further added that the initiation of branches of Indian institutes in foreign countries and vice-versa, like in the case of IIT being set up in UAE, will lead to the cost of education getting lower for students who will have the choice to study at Indian institutes abroad or at home, which can be beneficial for them.
With reports of Indian students not being allowed into China for the continuation of in-person classes and being affected by the Ukraine-Russia conflict getting a lot of traction in the past month or so, the conversation has shifted back to why students are also looking at non-traditional countries as places of learning, which don’t comprise of US, UK, Canada, etc.
Dr. Karan Gupta |
“Medicine is the most popular course for students who choose to study in Ukraine and other eastern European countries. This is mainly because the medical education in these countries is not expensive and it is relatively much easier to get admission to universities in these countries as opposed to universities in India,” said Dr. Karan Gupta from Karan Gupta Consulting who further mentioned that students should be careful in choosing their preferred universities as they should be in line with the guidelines of Indian regulatory bodies.
“There are 2 important factors while considering a market- 1. The educational capacity of the market: how many students can they hold in their universities? 2. The economy: how many students will have job opportunities post-study? These 2 points must be considered carefully before choosing countries for education. There is a space for all markets to co-exist,” said EduPeer’s Roshan Dhariwal and added that in times of crisis, governments will be able to help students rather than consultants whose job is to provide credible information to individuals wishing to go abroad.
Proper guidance needed
On the issue of forged admission letters and fraudulent claims made by consultancies or agencies to students in some instances, consultants agree that such problems should be eradicated with checks and balances while also maintaining that these are rare happenings.
“Students and parents alike have to pay close attention to who they are consulting with. The recommended colleges need to be checked on websites and their accreditation should be confirmed by the students. Post-Covid, due to financial instability, many institutions shut down arbitrarily which is a cause of concern too,” said Joyce Isaac whose points were echoed by Dr. Karan Gupta.
“Students should be aware of the difference between consultancies and agencies. They should make sure that admission letters, documents, etc. are handled by them rather than others as that can increase chances of fraud,” Dr. Karan added.