Over six lakh Indian students going abroad for higher education cost the country foreign exchange (forex) equivalent of Rs. 95,000 crore annually, according to a study by industry body, The Associated Chamber of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM).
The study said that most of them go abroad as they do not find seats in quality institutions within the country. Thus, India has a huge capacity constraint when it comes to quality higher education. The answer lies in establishment of high standard quality institutions, Assocham said and suggested a public-private partnership (PPP) model.
“Higher education in India is subsidised in the government sector. An IIT student pays an average $150 monthly fee, while students opting for education in Australia, Canada, Singapore, the US and UK shell out $1,500-4,000 as fees every month”, said ASSOCHAM, Secretary General, D S Rawat.
The paper suggests that quality foreign universities should be encouraged to India, especially in Tier-II. Opening of the higher education will result in providing 30-40 million additional jobs in the field of education alone. India has only 45,000 foreign students, as compared to 2-3 lakh in Australia.
With increasing competition and cut-offs in some universities going as high as 100 per cent, lakhs of students are left with not much alternative but to search for learning abroad. As a consequence, demand for education loan has also been increasing by over 20% annually.
A majority of Indian students in the UK are sourced from North India, though the numbers from South India and parts of Western India (Gujarat) are growing. However, very few students go from the East and North-East regions of India.
Though the UK, Germany and France attract foreign students in large numbers, each of these countries has unique motivations surrounding the presence of foreign students in their countries. The Indian students are gradually exploring UK, Germany, France, Sweden, Italy, Ireland and Denmark in Europe and also take up part-time jobs. The number of international students in the UK increased from 368,968 in 2009 to 425,000 in 2012.
Assocham said that India is the second most important source country for the UK. Between 2009 and 2012, the number of Indian students who chose UK for higher education increased phenomenally from 35,000 to 75,000.
The tuition fee in the USA varies from $6,000 to $25,000 per year. The cost of tuition fee for national students is about $9,000 and for international students it is $20,000. The cost to pursue a higher education in Canada is low as compared to other foreign countries such as UK, USA and Australia.