The exodus is rational 

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Source: The post is based on an article “The exodus is rational” published in The Times of India on 30th July 2022.

Syllabus: GS 2 Issues Relating to Development and Management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

Relevance: Higher Education Reforms

News: The trend of Indian students going abroad for higher education continues to rise at a rapid pace in 2022, despite the weakening rupee.

There are currently 11. 3 lakh Indian students studying abroad. And 2022 is set to be a record year for students going abroad, as per the data presented in Rajya Sabha.

What are the issues with the Indian students going abroad?

(1) Some reports suggest annual amounts spent abroad by Indian students could be up to $30bn. It includes tuition fee and money spent on living and travelling expenses.

(2) These annual expense amounts are sizable enough to fund the building of many new colleges and universities. For instance, the Rs 13,990 crore, or around $2bn has been allocated for funding 8 new IITs in 2018.

(3) There are reports of parents selling land and other assets and taking massive loans just to send their child abroad.

Why do Indian students prefer to study abroad?

(1) The average Indian college isn’t as good as an average college in Australia, UK or US. Most of the Indian educational institutes, barring a few Indian universities, have not been able to build brands in India. Here educational brands refer to trust, excellence, cutting-edge knowledge and ethics, not marketing, advertising or logos.

(2) The few old Indian educational brands still dominate:  For example, St Stephen’s College, the IITs still have a strong appeal. For example, even IITs and IIMs established in the recent years do not carry the same prestige as the old ones and are considered several notches lower.

(3) Most of the new Indian colleges are not being run by visionaries who have experience of building an educational institution. They are random businessmen or over-the-hill retired professors.

(4) After decades of discussion, foreign universities still don’t have campuses in India.

(5) India just doesn’t offer as much opportunity to highly educated people as some other countries, except in a few sectors like the software industry etc. The jobs in multinationals are soaked up by a few elite college students. Although, India is able to provide good jobs for our top-2% students, it has not been able to provide jobs to our top-20% students.

What should be done?

At Economic level: The government should open our economy and drive massive economic growth. India should be made a manufacturing hub for the world, and have policies that attract investors into job-creating sectors so that jobs are created in the domestic market.

At Education Level: (1) We can reform and make Indian colleges more attractive. For this, reputable institutions should be created in India, and (2) Further, the reputable international universities can be invited to open a campus in India (with or without a local partner).

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