Study Abroad – Why?

Study Abroad – Why?

Successive governments in India have professed, and taken actions towards, improving the quality of education, higher education in particular, in India. The focus is to establish institutions of excellence that are on par with some of the leading colleges and universities of the world in the facilities and quality ofeducation. Crores of rupees have been spent by the government to retain the exclusivity of institutions like the Indian Institutes of Management and the Indian Institutes of Technology. However, despite all these measures, the young Indian has her (or his) sights focused on foreign universities. In this, the first of a series of articles, we will go into the reasons for this phenomenon that is causing a brain drain that benefits other countries at our expense.
Study Abroad – Why?
  • The more fortunate have their basis education up to the higher secondary level in good schools that provide personalized quality education. This, complemented by the company these students keep, makes them aspire for higher education in prime universities and institutions abroad.
  • Actually, there is some sort of a paradox here. We are talking of the elite sections of society, who are in a minority. These children have the means and opportunity to go abroad and study in the leading colleges and universities of the world. However, are they the most deserving? There are hundreds and thousands of young children with ambitious dreams studying in the most ordinary of schools and colleges. Many of them make a mark despite all the hardships they encounter. However, the relevant point here is that they do not have the means to study abroad. This leads us to the conclusion that going abroad for higher studies is the preserve of the privileged few. Hence, instead of lamenting on the so called “brain drain,” shouldn’t we be taking steps to identify and harness the treasure house of intelligence and competence available in the country?
  • Ease of admission: Admission to the prime institutes of the country is an extremely difficult proposition. This leads students to try for easier options abroad.
  • Prime institutions like the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) have high standards and admission to these institutes is very difficult. This is one of the main reasons why students choose to study abroad. Having said this, for the population of a country like India the number of such good institutes that compare well with international standards, is extremely low. 
  •  Easy availability of educational loans
  • Banks and financial institutions have devised loan schemes in which pay back starts after the student starts working. This is a boon to students who need financial assistance. While this is a laudable initiative that has been working for a long time, would it be a good idea to extend such loans to deserving students, who pursue their studies in the country, at concessional rates of interest?
  • Facilities for research in countries like the United States are far superior than those available in India
  • The facilities available in some of the universities for research draws many students from all over the world. This is, perhaps, what draws hundreds of students of science, engineering, medicine and life sciences to these universities. To mitigate this “drain” is practically impossible since the facilities in India are grossly inadequate compared to these standards. However, a long term view would be to allot more resources and budget amounts in a planned and systematic manner so that, over a period of time, they come up to international level.

More insights on study abroad will follow.

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