International Mobility Trends of Indian Students – 2

Based on the last week’s posting of mobility trends of Indian students, I received several comments and questions. Thank you readers. Here is my response to a couple of overarching themes of the questions:

Q. Does that mean that Indian students who are planning to go abroad will not be academically prepared and will be graduates of poor institutions only?
Rahul- No. There are three important aspects to understand. First, demand for international education will also come from graduates of top-tier institutions, however, since the number of graduates from these institutions is relatively small as compared to graduates from poor quality, the direction of overall demand for international education will be driven by students from poor quality institutions. Second, graduates from better quality institutions find more options for employment after college as compared to graduates from poor quality institutions, who try to seek out further graduate education abroad. Third, I am referring to the poor quality of institutions and not necessarily quality and academic potential of students from these institutions. Hence many students from the bottom of the pyramid of institutions may still have high potential to be recruited by many foreign institutions.

Q. How does mobility of Indian students affects larger Indian society? Is it harmful to India because of the effects of “brain drain”?
Rahul- International student mobility has overall positive impact for India. Given the changing nature of the economy (“flattening of the world“) and emergence of new sectors and improved quality of life in bigger cities, talent which used to emigrate from India with no intention of returning is becoming open to experiment and return to India. This is the concept of brain circulation and suggests that the talent is now globally mobile and many are returning and contributing in an even more impactful manner. In addition, the foreign remittances received from Indians who emigrate abroad has a positive influence on the investments and development of Indian economy. According to the World Bank, India was the top recipient of remittances of US$52 billion in 2008.  Thus, while direct opportunities to study abroad remain limited to select few (less than 1% of Indian students are enrolled in foreign universities–150,000 Indian students enrolled abroad/15million total enrollment in Indian universities), the overall impact of brain circulation and remittances is creates a larger positive impact.

– Dr. Rahul Choudaha

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