What Brexit means to In­dian stu­dents

WHAT NEXT? While study­ing in the UK is likely to be­come cheaper after Brexit, uni­ver­si­ties will also go all out to woo In­dian stu­dents, say ex­perts

Hindustan Times (Delhi) - HT Education - - Front Page - Gauri Kohli

A lot has changed for the UK in the last few days since Brexit – the coun­try’s de­ci­sion to quit the Euro­pean Union (EU). The sta­bil­ity of UK’s econ­omy and its equa­tion with EU is now un­der the scan­ner. Higher ed­u­ca­tion is an im­por­tant do­main which is likely to see ma­jor changes after Brexit, par­tic­u­larly for In­dian stu­dents aspir­ing to study in the UK and EU.

Ex­perts say that it will take at least two years for for­mal­i­ties fol­low­ing Brexit to fi­nally be in place. Given this sce­nario, will UK see a fur­ther drop in the num­ber of stu­dents from In­dia and will UK uni­ver­si­ties in­tro­duce more strin­gent poli­cies for in­ter­na­tional stu­dents, par­tic­u­larly In­di­ans? WILL STUD­IES GET CHEAPER? A lot of you must be won­der­ing if study­ing in the UK will be­come ex­pen­sive or if the post study work visa rules will make it harder for In­di­ans to choose the UK as a des­ti­na­tion.

The im­pact on the econ­omy and the pound is al­ready no­tice­able, with the pound re­cov­er­ing slightly after the ini­tial free fall. Ac­cord­ing to San­jeev Roy, higher ed­u­ca­tion ex­pert– EU pub­lic diplo­macy and out­reach in In­dia and in the SAARC, “This will af­fect In­dian stu­dents in many ways. Study­ing in UK was never this in­ex­pen­sive. The fee will re­duce and this means that more stu­dents can now dream of study­ing in the UK.”

How­ever, stu­dents need to be cau­tious. Rahul Choudaha, CEO of DrE­d­u­ca­tion, a US-based global higher ed­u­ca­tion re­search firm, says, “In the im­me­di­ate short-term, di­rect cost of study­ing in the UK will be de­clin­ing due to cur­rency de­val­u­a­tion. How­ever, un­cer­tain prospects for find­ing work op­por­tu­ni­ties will make it (dif­fi­cult for stu­dents to) re­cover di­rect cost and hence over­all cost of study in the UK will still in­crease.” Visa is­sues can be re­solved if the UK gov­ern­ment brings in a sep­a­rate visa pol­icy for In­di­ans and other Com­mon­wealth na­tions. STU­DENT MO­BIL­ITY Ac­cord­ing to Choudaha, the num­ber of In­dian stu­dents com­ing to the UK de­clined by 53% from 2010-13 to 2014-15 in con­trast to in­crease in stu­dents headed for the US. “The UK had been wit­ness­ing a de­cline in the num­ber of In­dian stu­dents due to poli­cies that did not favour stu­dents in gain­ing work ex­pe­ri­ence. Given that In­dian stu­dents are value-seek­ers, they pre­fer to re­cover a part of the cost of ed­u­ca­tion by gain­ing work ex­pe­ri­ence. Post- re­ces­sion, UK poli­cies have been mak­ing it con­sis­tently more ex­pen­sive and dif­fi­cult for in­ter­na­tional stu­dents to study and stay in the UK. De­cline in work op­por­tu­ni­ties along with un­cer­tain econ­omy and stricter im­mi­gra­tion poli­cies will make UK less at­trac­tive for many I ndian s t udents,” he says.

While t his may b e t he im­me­di­ate fallout of Brexit, the sil­ver lin­ing to the cloud for UK is that the num­ber of In­dian stu­dents can still go up in fu­ture. “UK uni­ver­si­ties have shown a lot of in­ter­est in In­dia, which is a big mar­ket for them. Ear­lier, (a larger) num­ber of stu­dents chose UK for post­grad­u­ate stud­ies but the trend is chang­ing with un­der­grad­u­ate cour­ses also be­ing in de­mand. UK uni­ver­si­ties will now try to at­tract more In­dian stu­dents and they can­not af­ford to ig­nore In­dian stu­dents or their as­so­ci­a­tion with In­dian in­sti­tu­tions, par­tic­u­larly with the pend­ing for­eign ed­u­ca­tion bill and the re­cent an­nounce­ments by the min­istry of hu­man re­source de­vel­op­ment re­gard­ing tie-ups with for­eign in­sti­tu­tions,” says Roy. The num­ber of In­dian stu­dents in the UK is per­haps the low­est in the last decade and ef­forts hence­forth by the UK uni­ver­si­ties and the gov­ern­ment will be made to im­prove the sit­u­a­tion.

As per the Higher Ed­u­ca­tion Sta­tis­tics Agency, UK, there were about 10,000 first- year In­dian stu­dents in the UK in 2004-05, a num­ber which grew steadily to cross 20,000 be­tween 2008 and 2011. How­ever, with the strict work poli­cies and im­mi­gra­tion rules, this dropped dras­ti­cally from 2011 and was back to 10,125 in 2014-15.

De­spite this, In­dia was sec­ond in terms of non-EU firstyear en­rol­ments in the UK with 6% of non-EU first year en­rol­ments in 2014-15, along with the US. How­ever, while num­bers from US have re­mained sta­ble over these five years, the share from In­dia has de­creased from 14% in 2010-11. In­dia was sec­ond largest in the list of non-EU coun­tries across all en­rol­ments, rep­re­sent­ing 6%.

Ac­cord­ing to the UK Coun­cil f or I nter na­tional Stu­dent Affairs, In­dian stu­dents are the next largest co­hort in the UK after China with 18,320, although t his rep­re­sents a con­tin­u­ing drop from the pre­vi­ous year and the year be­fore. The im­pact of Brexit could also mean more stu­dents go­ing to Scot­land and Ire­land for higher stud­ies. “These des­ti­na­tions now have an edge and will be even more ag­gres­sive in at­tract­ing In­dian stu­dents,” adds Roy. IM­PACT ON STU­DENT FUND­ING Stu­dent fund­ing in terms of the num­ber and value of scholar- ships and fel­low­ships to the UK might bring in good news for In­dian stu­dents, says Roy.

“After Brexit, UK uni­ver­si­ties and other fund­ing agen­cies such the Bri­tish Coun­cil are likely to get ag­gres­sive in terms of of­fer­ing schol­ar­ships, full or par­tial, to at­tract In­dian stu­dents. The num­ber of UK var­si­ties com­ing to In­dia to woo stu­dents has gone up. Their ed­u­ca­tion pol­icy will fo­cus on wel­com­ing stu­dents from all over and will have to think out- of- the- box to get in more In­dian stu­dents. Schol­ar­ships un­der schemes such as Great Schol­ar­ships by the Bri­tish Coun­cil, Dr Man­mo­han Singh Schol­ar­ships and Chevening Schol­ar­ships, be­sides schol­ar­ships by uni­ver­si­ties, will go up,” adds Roy. Changes won’t hap­pen overnight, uni­ver­si­ties in the UK re­as­sured in­ter­na­tional stu­dents wor­ried about reper­cus­sions on stud­ies after Brexit .

A state­ment by Dame Ju­lia G o o d f e l l ow, p r e s i d e n t o f Uni­ver­si­ties UK, has said, “We should re­mem­ber that leav­ing the EU will not hap­pen overnight – there will be a grad­ual exit process with sig­nif­i­cant op­por­tu­ni­ties to seek as­sur­ances and in­flu­ence fu­ture pol­icy. Through­out the tran­si­tion pe­riod, our fo­cus will be on se­cur­ing sup­port that al­lows our uni­ver­si­ties to con­tinue to be global in their out­look and in­ter­na­tion­ally net­worked. Our first pri­or­ity will be to con­vince the UK gov­ern­ment to take steps to pro­mote the UK as a wel­com­ing des­ti­na­tion for the bright­est and best minds.”

Talk­ing about the im­pact on fund­ing schemes, a Univer­sity of Birm­ing­ham spokesper­son says, “We will en­deav­our to pro­vide clar­ity on the press­ing is­sues as soon as we can and would like to re­as­sure staff and stu­dents that the vote to leave the Euro­pean Union does not mean there will be any im­me­di­ate ma­te­rial change to the UK univer­sity sec­tor’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in EU pro­grammes such as Hori­zon 2020 and Eras­mus Plus. As a univer­sity com­mu­nity we al­ready are plan­ning to­gether for the changes that will be ahead to en­sure we re­main an am­bi­tious, out­ward­look­ing, global univer­sity.”

The Univer­sity of Southamp­ton is also reach­ing out to stu­dents glob­ally on the is­sue. “We recog­nise that this could be an anx­ious pe­riod for many peo­ple ei­ther con­sid­er­ing or cur­rently study­ing and work­ing at the Univer­sity of Southamp­ton. Un­til there is fur­ther clar­ity, we would like to en­sure you that we are do­ing our best to un­der­stand the is­sues and re­duce the im­pact where pos­si­ble,” says a spokesper­son from the univer­sity.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.