The number of Indian higher education students choosing an education overseas is steadily increasing. All the available statistics show the same trend. It is very evident that India has expanded its education network tremendously with the support of private sector in the last decade. However, the country is still a very active participant in the ongoing internationalization of higher education.
Why so? The answer is simple. The quality and standards of Indian higher education have not been upgraded. Though the country has seen the emergence of a multitude of institutions to deliver higher education, the quality remains the same.
When students look around India for a place to study for an advanced degree, they find few top-quality programs. The Indian Planning Commission’s analysis of higher education in the latest Five Year Plan clearly portrays the current state of the Indian higher education system. It says, “the sector is plagued by a shortage of well-trained faculty, poor infrastructure and outdated and irrelevant curricula,” It added that the lack of research orientation, even in the best of Indian institutions and that the number of PhDs produced in science and engineering is “minuscule” compared with China and the US.
Low levels of government expenditure on education in most developing countries have resulted in a serious shortage of recognised institutions. It has further bugged by a limited availability of seats. These limitations have forced Indian students to explore other avenues to pursue higher education abroad.
In India, though there are some respectable departments in the segments such as social studies and humanities, none can be classified as ‘international standard’. However, in the science and technology segments, there are few institutions which keep global standards in education. But, the student-accommodation capacity of these institutions is very limited.
Besides, a degree from a top overseas university tends to be valued more in the Indian job market than a local degree. Though, some educational courses are expensive in the Australian, the US and the UK markets, doctorates are comparatively inexpensive because of the possibility of securing a research or teaching fellowship which pays for most of the costs.
The infrastructure support provided by the foreign universities is far better when compared with the Indian ones. The foreign universities are also following a culture of research and the senior faculty members are often more accessible.
Another factor, particularly true for countries like India and China, is the increased income levels of middle -class families in the last decade, which has made education abroad an affordable option. The existing higher education infrastructure in India is weak and remains neglected. Consequently, a growing number of students seek better quality education and explore study abroad opportunities. Many students seek the support of Overseas Education Consultants for choosing the right educational courses.
Further, studying abroad is always being considered as the first move toward emigration. There are different reasons for not returning to India. The US student visa regulations, compared to other countries are more permissive and thus increase the chances of finding employment after completing the degree. It is therefore a combination of attaining quality education in addition to employment opportunities which result in more Indians going for higher education abroad.