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Unfortunate craze of studying abroad

For the past few years, the craze for people from India to go abroad to take admission in foreign colleges and settle there has been on increase. According to the government, between 2016 and 2021, 26.44 lakh Indian students went abroad to study. The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) estimates show that in the year 2020, 4.5 lakh Indian students went abroad for education and they spent $ 13.5 billion in this process. In the year 2022, this expenditure was 24 billion dollars that is, about 2 lakh crore rupees. According to the report of Redseer Strategy Consultant, by 2024 this expenditure may reach US$ 80 billion, that is, 7 lakh crore rupees, when an estimated 20 lakh Indian students will go abroad to study. Union Minister B. Muraleedharan informed the Lok Sabha on 25 March 2022 that currently 13 lakh Indian students are studying abroad. This number is continuously increasing. According to this statement of the government, in the year 2021, 4.44 lakh students went to study abroad. According to another statement from the government, as of November 30, 2022, the number of students who went abroad to study, was 6.46 lakh, that is, an increase of 45 percent.

If we make a state-wise analysis, till the year 2021, among the students going to study abroad, 12 percent were from Punjab and Andhra Pradesh each; and 8 percent were from Gujarat. If seen in proportion to the total number of youth, then 7 out of every thousand youth from Punjab, 4 out of every thousand youth from Andhra Pradesh and at least 2 out of every thousand youth from Gujarat are going to study abroad every year. If we take the cumulative numbers from 2016 to 2022, the situation looks quite alarming. This number is 50 per thousand in Punjab, 30 per thousand in Andhra Pradesh and 14 per thousand in Gujarat.

The exponential increase in the number of students going abroad to study is a matter of concern for many reasons. The biggest concern is that these youth are migrating to foreign countries in search of education and employment and this migration is causing a shortage of labor force for the economic activities in the country.

Apart from this, the country's valuable foreign currency is also going abroad. It is observed that parents of these youth going abroad for studies, are selling their assets to meet the demands of foreign universities and other incidental expenditures. There was a time when a huge sum of foreign exchange remittances used to come to the villages of Punjab and other states from abroad from Indians working abroad. However, due to this craze of studying abroad, this process has been reversed, that is, instead of money coming from abroad, money is being sent abroad on a huge scale. In such a situation, when by the year 2024 the number of students going to study abroad will reach 20 lakh and the amount spent by them will reach 80 billion dollars, then situation may turn highly grim and precarious.

It is noteworthy that migration of youth to foreign countries for education is not due to lack of education facilities in the country. In fact, there has been huge progress in the field of education in the country in the last two-three decades. If we look at the admission of students in higher education, then in 1990-91, only 49.2 lakh students took admission in higher educational institutions; but this number reached 414 lakh in the year 2020-21. Broadly speaking, the number of students taking admission in higher education has increased more than 10 times in the last 30 years. If we talk about higher education institutions, we see that in the year 2021, there were 1113 universities and equivalent institutions, 43796 colleges and 11296 standalone educational institutions in the country. In the same year, 15.51 lakh teachers were working in institutions of higher education in the country. 

As far as fee for admission into educational institutions is concerned, in most of the Indian educational institutions it's much lower than the fees in foreign institutions and most of the foreign institutions in which Indian youth are taking admission are of very low standard.

As individual young students are moving towards foreign countries after being influenced by the success stories of Indians going abroad in the past. But they are not able to realise that today in Canada, Australia and European countries, where they are taking admission in educational institutions, those educational institutions are giving easy admission to Indian students in their institutions, for profit. Not only this, many teaching shops, which have nothing to do with genuine education, are also operational there and are charging huge fees from the students keen to take admission, who are are otherwise not eligible to get admission in good institutions. The government needs to make efforts to save the ignorant youth of the country, who are being cheated or misguided in the name of education in foreign countries. The enlightened citizens also need to come forward for this.

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