The Times of IndiaAs students approach a new academic session, Pratibha Jain, international education consultant, writes on emerging destinations overseas
Astaggering six billion rupees is spent annually by Indian students studying abroad, which is almost twice the annual budget spent on education by the government. For decades Indian students preferred the US, UK and Australia for higher education . However, the tightening of rules and low economic opportunities in these traditional destinations have opened options, enticing Indian students to look at institutes in Canada, Europe, New Zealand and Singapore. Courses in professional disciplines such as engineering and IT are still the most sought-after , as they are seen to be the most employable.
Singapore has benefited the most. For Indians , it meets almost all features of a familiar culture, weather and world-class universities. The indigenous Singapore universities are highly selective, but offer generous funding of 75% tuition grant for those who make the grade (three-year bond). However, many are looking at the numerous private universities, which offer accredited degree programmes of universities of UK and Australia at lower costs. Academic institutes in Hong Kong and Malaysia are making it to student lists due to low cost and employment prospects, though the numbers are still small.

UK has scrapped the two-year post-study leave to remain in the country, replacing it with a new policy that requires a student to hold a job that pays around 20,000 pounds before applying for a visa. This has dashed the hopes of Indian students to recover costs by working, as there are very few bursaries or scholarships available.
Countries in Europe are moving in to fill the gap by offering more courses taught in English. Sweden, Denmark, Italy and Ireland are offering a number of scholarships and the cost of living too is low. Yet, the numbers applying are limited to a few adventurous Indians due to language and cultural barriers . France and Spain are emerging as attractive destinations as many of their institutions are in the global rankings, which is a big factor for the brand-conscious Indian. Germany is attracting more numbers due to its academic excellence and merit-based scholarships, especially in engineering and bio-sciences . While it is known for automobiles, aeronautical, mechanical and environmental engineering, it is marketing its courses in business and economics as well. "The student visa can be converted into a residence permit for employment and is issued for up to five years,'' said the director of the German Academic Exchange Service's (DAAD) regional office in New Delhi. With fee subsidies and government stipends, the tuition fee is low even though living costs are still high. The European Union's Erasmus Mundus programme, launched in 2004, has helped 2,000 Indian students study in institutions at very low costs in Europe including in Germany, France and Spain. Read more...