The Future of Higher Education Abroad


Despite a tremendous increase in the amount of Indian students choosing to study abroad, the education gross enrollment (GER) is still 23.3%, 20% behind the global average of 43%.

26 million Indian students are currently enrolled in tertiary education and by 2020 there will 40 million Indian students enrolled, meaning for the surplus 14 million students seeking higher education, there is a need to build more universities and colleges.

There are currently 659 universities in India, which constitutes over 33,000 colleges, meaning the country needs a further 150 universities and 7,000 colleges. In addition to the quantity, there are also issues over the lack of quality, and poor quality teaching leaves students unemployed or working a role below their education level.

This lack of quality education forces Indian students to look for alternative pathways to enhance their skills and studying abroad is one such way. Statistically, the number of Indian students studying abroad is increasing year on year. In 2006, almost 1.4 million students were studying abroad, while in 2016 that number is now 2 million.

Why more Indians will study abroad in the future

  • Specialised higher education: Whether it is IT, manufacturing, finance, or architecture, the need to gain special skills and knowledge takes Indian students abroad. There are many courses which can only be found in countries like the UK.
  • Skill based classes: Classes have already become more digital in the UK and the purpose of the skill based learning is to enhance independent skills, technical skills, critical thinking, leadership skills, and more.
  • Diversity: Studying in an international country gives students an exposure to different cultures and races which enhances the overall learning experience.
  • More students will be able to afford higher education abroad: India is currently one of the fastest growing economies in the world. As the income of families increases further, more students will be able to afford higher education.

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