The number of rural Indian students choosing to study in Canada, the US, Australia, the UK, Ireland, and New Zealand has almost doubled after the COVID-19 restrictions were lifted around the world.
By now, almost a million Indian students have been allured by the promise of a bright future overseas. Catriona Jackson, the chief executive of Universities Australia informed us that there are around 76,000 Indian students more that are waiting for their visas. According to him, the number is set to rise as Australia and India signed a bilateral trade pact this year.
For a long period of time, Indian middle-class families have sought better prospects in overseas education. But this time, the deteriorating economic conditions have made families from rural areas invest in their children’s future international education.
The family of Sachin, a 19-year-old student, managed to collect 2 million rupees (approximately USD$25,035) in order to cover the tuition fees. This was because he did not get admission to a top local college and decided that a Canadian student visa was the solution to his problem. Sachin told Reuters: “My dream is to settle abroad as I see no future in India.”
Many rural Indian students apply for short courses in Canada and Australia as they are driven by bleak job prospects in their home country and higher wages abroad.
Permanent residence and job opportunities have become the main reason for students to rush to international courses by even mortgaging their houses and taking massive loans. Not even a 7% decline in the value of the Indian rupee this year has deterred families and students from going after opportunities abroad. Moreover, rural Indians are seen as an untapped potential by the international market.
The overseas education market may grow to US$80 billion by 2024 from only US$30 billion in 2021, according to a report by Red Seer.
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