Home »  News & Events  » Weakened dollar, sterling pound driving overseas education
  Weakened dollar, sterling pound driving overseas education
2009 Dec 18
  Chandigarh, Chandigarh, December 16, 2009 /India PRwire/ -- Be it the US, UK, Australia or New Zealand, the number of Indian students going to study overseas has risen tremendously. According to Ministry of Overseas Affairs, demand for overseas higher education is increasing with over 2.64 lakh Indian students, who have gone abroad for studies, spending approximately about Rs 27,000 crore ($5.5 billion) every year.

With the Indian economy growing at 7 percent annually, jobs are being created in India and the middle class is growing. Inevitably, this is leading to an increased level of prosperity, thereby increasing the affordability of an expensive overseas education, and dramatically increasing the career aspirations of a growing number of Indians. This coupled with a weakened US dollar, Australian dollar and UK sterling pound is driving a growth in the overseas education market. According to Ministry of Overseas Affairs, out of 264,324 students gone abroad, maximum of 104,522 are in the US followed by over 97,035 in Australia, 25,905 in the UK and over 6,040 in New Zealand.

The latest figures appear to provide further evidence for a belief that higher education is recession resilient, or at least recession-proof. Consider these statistics released by the Australian Education International of the Australian government: In 2001, the number of Indian students going to Australia was pegged at 10,461. During the year, China topped the list of international student enrolments at 26,844. Cut to 2008 the number of Indian student enrolments to Australia witnessed a quantum jump to 97,035 climbing to the second position next only to China from its seventh position in 2001. According to Australian Education International, Indian students now make up almost 18 per cent of Australia s total foreign student population, the second largest group after China, which represents 23.5 per cent of the total foreign student body. According to Australian deputy prime minister and education minister Julia Gillard, the fall in the value of the Australian dollar made an Australian education more affordable.

The growth story is same for overseas education in the US. According to Open Doors report by the Institute of International Education, the number of Indian students at US colleges and universities was all time high during the 2007-2008 academic year - reaching a total of 104,522 students, a 13% increase. Since 2001, Indians have been the largest foreign student population on American campuses, comprising 15.2 % of the total international students in the United States.

As regards UK, according to data from the UK s Higher Education Statistics Agency, the number of Indian students going to UK rose from 19,205 in 2005-06 to 23,835 in 2006-07. According to British Council, universities could benefit from the economic downturn as more overseas students choose to study in Britain because of the weaker pound. International students, mostly from China and India, contribute £2.5bn to the UK economy in tuition fees alone. A report by the British Council research predicts growth in the numbers of students from India, China and Nigeria coming to the UK to study as a result of the drop in the value of sterling. "Our baseline forecast estimates a rise in market share for the UK in the forecast period compared with the competitor set of countries, from an estimated 12.5% in 2006 to almost 26% by 2015," the report says. "In relative terms, the pound s expected protracted weakness throughout the forecast period makes a UK education much more competitive price-wise. As the total potential number of international students (to all countries) is set to continue to grow throughout the forecast period also, this results in a potential increase in demand for education in the UK from international Indian students to over 30,000 by 2010 and almost 60,000 by 2015.

New Zealand too emerged the favored destination of the Indian students apart from the US, UK and Australia universities. According to New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, in the year 2005 there were 2,000 Indian students in New Zealand, but that number had increased to 6,040 as of March 2009 and the target is to go higher still. Says New Zealand trade commissioner in Delhi Cliff Fuller, "We have many students from Punjab. Even in other parts of the country, we have a great response. Indian students are mostly interested in business and IT related courses, travel, hospitality and media and design. There is also interest in niche courses such as viticulture (growing grapes, mainly to make wine), plant science and horticulture, food technology and sports management."

According to Fuller, the percentage of Indian students enrolling in New Zealand institutes has increased nearly 300 % in the last six years. In 1998, only 150 Indian students enrolled. This figure rose to 2159 in 2002, and 7,263 new enrolments in 2008 and 9521 in 2009 . Naresh Gulati, CEO of Oceanic Consultants, opines that Kiwi land offers the best and affordable education under the safest environment and an easy permanent residency. This is driving the growth of higher education in New Zealand from overseas students. The soaring numbers suggest that the economic downturn has not affected everyone. Says Naresh Gulati, "Both Australia and New Zealand offer a safe learning environment with excellent study opportunities and support services for international students. Academic institutions in both the countries are world class and recognized globally. New Zealand enjoys a 20 per cent cost advantage over Australia which can make a huge difference in these tough times."

Source: India PR Wire

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