How has the choices and trends of Indian students pursuing overseas education has shifted over the years? I analyzed the data in my article published in CNBC-TV18. The total number of Indian students overseas increased from 66,713 in 2000 to 3,01,406 in 2016, based on the analysis of data from UNESCO. This translates into 2,34,693 more Indian students overseas in 2016 as compared to that in 2000—at a robust average annual growth rate of 22 percent in a span of 16 years.
In 2000, 59 percent of all Indian students overseas were enrolled in the US universities followed by 7 percent in Australia, 6 percent in the UK and less than 1 percent in Canada. This indicates a clear preference for the US as a destination for Indian students.
However, by 2016, the share of Indian students in the US dropped to 45 percent and the UK remained stagnant at 6 percent. In contrast, Australia gained to reach 15 percent and Canada to 7 percent. In other words, much of the growth in demand to study overseas was absorbed by Australia and Canada at expense of the US and the UK.
With over 3,00,000 Indian students studying overseas, India is the second largest source of international students after China. However, in the recent times, the political turmoil triggered by the results of the UK’s referendum to leave European Union or Brexit and the American Presidential elections has also created an environment of restrictive immigration and visa policies in these countries. Will the number of Indian students studying abroad continue to grow in this environment?