In the last twenty years, students going abroad have increased exponentially by 300% for a multitude of reasons. Rising affluence in India, foreign exchange being available, more IB schools coming up in recent years, with each school sending an average of 20-100 kids abroad, and most importantly, the Internet becoming a level playing field has changed the landscape of studying abroad in the past two decades.
Today students from second, third tier cities have a perspective about studying abroad, as a matter of fact, a large contingent of students pursuing education overseas hail from Jaipur, Pune, Nagpur, Lucknow, Jalandhar, etc rather than from the major metropolitan cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, etc. With the competition being so tough, rising affluence has led to parents choosing easier and better ways to get their kids higher education while not indulging in the hassles of entrance exams back home, which is pretty stressful.
Awareness has also increased among parents with first-generation individuals sending their kids who belong to the second generation at a much higher number. There has been a 300% increase in the last 20 years among students going abroad.
I would categorise the pertaining challenges into two parts. One is that even though the Indian curriculum is very strong in its content and rigour, adapting to a foreign curriculum, especially the one in North America, is a little tougher as the education there is based on application and thinking skills.
Another issue is that it often takes a year or two for students to stabilise themselves abroad, especially with humanities as Indian students who come from CBSE, ICSE, or SSC curricula are not taught how to write a research paper, he/she is not taught the repercussions of plagiarism, thus a lot of things can be corrected by incorporating thinking skills in the Indian curriculum.
That way students will be far better equipped to learn abroad because their education journey could be a seamless experience. It is to be noted that Indian students adapt very quickly now as they are very ambitious and parents are also willing to nurture students.
Plagiarism - an eternal sin
Students can adapt socially quite quickly. Though they prefer to stay around Indians, they also find challenges with the research aspects and grapple with stabilising abroad for a year or two, especially for the ones who have followed the Indian curriculum. Interestingly, students often get suspended for plagiarising out there, which just shows how it’s a complete no-no in academic circles there. It is something that needs to be addressed.
A change of strategy among Indian parents
Usually, students are going abroad for three reasons, namely, post-graduation, undergraduation, and 11th or 12th grade. Parents have shifted to a strategy wherein they are sending their children to the UK, and Europe for their 11th and 12th because it’s easier for them to further send their kids to the US from there but it’s a small percentage. A sudden increase in Undergrads, at least 8-10k students applying each year, has been witnessed.
The role of Indian schools in preparing students for education overseas
Every school has a different ethos and it’s better to go to a school which prepares students to study abroad. Some schools just cater to that, many known ones also have programmes dedicated to the same.
The author is one of Mumbai's most prominent counsellors, who has guided thousands of Indian students to the world's most elite colleges. He is also known for authoring 'Indian Roots, Ivy Admits'.