India's booming middle class seem no longer interested to study in United States or United Kingdom. Figure this, in 2010, over 1.3 lakh, students were studying in American Universities. The number has dropped to 96,700, reveals the 'open doors' report 2013, released by a US agency.
Meanwhile, the UK has seen the worse decline. The number of Indian students dwindled from 39,090 to 22,285 between 2010 and 2013, states the recently released report of Higher Education Statistics Agency-UK.
Australia, the third most preferred choice for Indians till 2009, is yet to recover from the racial attack on Indians.
Skewed job situation and higher living and education cost in the US is said to be the reason behind the decline, for the UK anti-immigrant policies are to be blamed. "Scrapping the post-study-work visa from 2011 and a proposal of £3,000 bond for the visa for Indians in 2013, turned out to be major deterrents for students," says a parent. The proposal was withdrawn by the conservative-led government in late 2013.
Meanwhile, countries like Canada, New Zealand, Germany and some Asia Pacific ones seem to have gained an edge over others. Experts attribute the trend to easier immigration policies, availability of better institutions with higher global rankings than many US and UK colleges, cheaper education-living cost and post-study-job opportunities offered by these countries.
For instance, Canada has the provision of a three-year post-study-work visa. "Besides top ranking universities and more job opportunities, Canada additionally offers citizenships owing to the skewed population. This is a major attraction for those who want to settle there," says a Pune-based education consultant.
The enrollment of Indian students in Canadian varsities has gone up 10-fold over the last decade. According to the immigration report of the Canada government, in 2009, 5,709 students went to Canada. In 2012, the number increased to 13,136.
Understanding the need, New Zealand recently announced 'unlimited' work rights to all overseas PhD and masters (by research) students. Till now, it granted maximum of three years, post-study-work visa.
Ziena Jalil, regional director- South Asia education, New Zealand, says, "India is the second largest contributor of international students for us with 11,349 students studying in 2012. The visa numbers have gone up by 14% in 2013." In five years, there was a 200% rise in the enrollment of students.
Mumbai, Delhi and Pune-based consultants observed 15-20% annual increase in the applications for Germany, Sweden, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea and Malaysia following an aggressive marketing by these states.
CS Kulkarni, professor at Thadomal Shahani Engineering College, says,"Many south east Asian universities ranked among top 100 in the world. They are closer home and offer low cost education and hence students prefer them over lesser-known European or American colleges."