Will Brexit push for­eign stu­dents to­wards Europe?

LOOKING AHEAD The UK’s tough visa regime and con­cerns over im­mi­gra­tion poli­cies of the US might send more In­dian stu­dents to France and Ger­many

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

Con­cer ns over t he United King­dom’s tough visa regime and im­mi­gra­tion poli­cies of US pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump are likely to send more in­ter­na­tional stu­dents to Europe even as France and Ger­many show up promi­nently on the list of their pre­ferred coun­tries. In the last three years, Ger­many has inched closer to the UK as a higher stud­ies des­ti­na­tion for In­di­ans. WHY FRANCE? France is a ma­jor gate­way to Europe’s work and busi­ness cul­ture. In­ter­na­tional stu­dents of­ten en­joy ac­cess to lead­ing aca­demics, with small class sizes and in­ten­sive teach­ing, and that too for a low fee (when com­pared to the US and UK). French engi­neer­ing and busi­ness schools also fare well in Euro­pean rank­ings.

Data for aca­demic years 2013 to 2016 in­di­cates that the num­ber of In­dian stu­dents in France has in­creased. While it was 3,037 in 2013-2014, it in­creased to 3,481 in 2014-15 and 4,231 in 2015-16.

For In­di­ans, man­age­ment, fi­nance and eco­nomics are the most pop­u­lar pro­grammes, with 60% of stu­dents opt­ing for th­ese cour­ses in France. Ac­cord­ing to Alexan­dre Ziegler, am­bas­sador of France to In­dia, this year, the French Em­bassy of­fered nearly 400 schol­ar­ships un­der its flag­ship Charpak pro­gramme for mas­ter’s de­grees, ex­change semesters and re­search in­tern­ships. French com­pa­nies also of­fer schol­ar­ships to In­dian stu­dents, in­clud­ing tu­ition fee waivers and monthly stipends.

Run by the Em­bassy of France in In­dia, the Charpak schol­ar­ship of­fers three types of fund­ing for bach­e­lor’s and mas­ter’s lev­els. All schol­ar­ships are merit-based. Ev­ery In­dian stu­dent who comes to study in France in a pub­lic univer­sity ben­e­fits from tu­ition fee waivers by the govern­ment. The em­bassy will con­duct the Ad­mis­sion Tour in In­dia, a higher ed­u­ca­tion fair, in Fe­bru­ary 2017. ONWARD TO GER­MANY In­dian stu­dent mo­bil­ity in Ger­many is on the rise. The num­ber of In­dian stu­dents in the coun­try has more than dou­bled in the last five years. The lat­est fig­ures re­leased by the Fed­eral Sta­tis­ti­cal Of­fice re­veal the num­ber of In­dian stu­dents in Ger­many growing by 15.8% over the last one year to 13,740 (win­ter semester 2015-16). In­di­ans form the sec­ond largest group of in­ter­na­tional stu­dents en­rolled at Ger­man uni­ver­si­ties with engi­neer­ing pro­grammes ac­count­ing for the max­i­mum num­ber of In­di­ans (72%).

A decade ago, both France and Ger­many were at­tract­ing less than 5,000 stu­dents ev­ery year clubbed to­gether. Maria Mathai, di­rec­tor, MM Ad­vi­sory Services (that re­leased the In­dia Stu­dents’ Mo­bil­ity Re­port 2016), says that Ger­many in 2009 had about 3,200 In­dian stu­dents and France had 1,200. Last year, Ger­many crossed the 11,000 stu­dents mark and France had close to 4,000 stu­dents. “So it is clear that Ger­many has left its fel­low Euro­pean neigh­bour be­hind,” she says. For Ger­many, “the big­gest fac­tor has been the de­ci­sion by Ger­man var­si­ties to waive off tu­ition fee for for­eign stu­dents,” says Mathai. When study­ing abroad, an im­por­tant thing that comes to mind is the high cost of study and liv­ing. In French pub­lic in­sti­tu­tions of higher ed­u­ca­tion, the govern­ment bears the bulk of the cost of ed­u­ca­tion, which is an av­er­age of eu­ros 10,000 (₹7.27 lakh) to eu­ros 13,000 (₹9.45 lakh) per stu­dent per year. An­nual tu­ition fees at pub­lic in­sti­tu­tions are set by law. The fee for the 2015–16 aca­demic year is euro 184 (₹13,376 ap­prox) for bach­e­lor’s pro­grammes, euro 256 (₹18,611 ap­prox) for mas­ter’s pro­grammes, and euro 391 (₹28,425 ap­prox) for doc­toral pro­grammes. Ad­di­tional fees may be ap­pli­ca­ble for spe­cific services. Tu­ition rates at pri­vate in­sti­tu­tions – par­tic­u­larly schools of busi­ness and man­age­ment – are gen­er­ally higher from euro 3,000 (₹2.18 lakh ap­prox) to euro 15,000 (₹10.9 lakh ap­prox) an­nu­ally.

The av­er­age cost of liv­ing is euro 700 (₹51,100 ap­prox) per month. Stu­dents can get up to 30% of their ac­com­mo­da­tion rent re­im­bursed by the French govern­ment. In Ger­many, ed­u­ca­tion is sub­sidised by the state and, there­fore, state-funded in­sti­tu­tions of higher ed­u­ca­tion charge no tu­ition fee. Thus,vir­tu­ally ev­ery stu­dent in that coun­try gets a schol­ar­ship. Cer­tain spe­cialised cour­ses and cour­ses of­fered by pri­vate uni­ver­si­ties at­tract a fee.

Stu­dents re­quire about euro 790 (₹57,433 ap­prox) per month for sub­sis­tence ie hous­ing, food, cloth­ing, study ma­te­rial and other ex­penses such as health in­sur­ance and leisure ac­tiv­i­ties. This amount can vary. As an in­ter­na­tional stu­dent, one is per­mit­ted to work for 120 full days or 240 half days in a year. In case of part time work po­si­tions such as re­search/teach­ing as­sist­ant­ships, th­ese lim­its may not ap­ply. VISA NORMS IN FRANCE As of 2015, ev­ery In­dian stu­dent who has com­pleted a de­gree at the mas­ter’s or a higher level in France can ex­tend his or her stay. This mea­sure has been in­tro­duced to en­able In­dian stu­dents to seek suit­able employment in France in line with their stud­ies.

Stu­dents are al­lowed to work part-time to sup­port them­selves dur­ing this pe­riod. In 2013, the Em­bassy of France in In­dia de­cided to fa­cil­i­tate travel to France for all In­dian cit­i­zens re­sid­ing in In­dia who have stud­ied in France, in­clud­ing those do­ing Indo-French dual de­gree pro­grammes.

As of July 2013, all such alumni sub­se­quently ap­ply­ing for a tourist or busi­ness visa for France, are el­i­gi­ble for a visa with a long pe­riod of va­lid­ity (up to five years, sub­ject to pass­port va­lid­ity) if the de­gree ob­tained in France is at the mas­ter’s or a higher level.

This visa al­lows ap­pli­cants to stay in the Schen­gen area for up to 90 days, with a 90-day gap be­tween stays.

Stu­dents who have grad­u­ated be­fore July 2013 can also ap­ply, for this rule is be­ing ap­plied with retroac­tive ef­fect. GER­MANY’S WORK RULES Ger­many gives you un­lim­ited work and res­i­dence per­mit. The Ger­man par­lia­ment has im­ple­mented a Euro­pean Union (EU) Blue Card and a new un­lim­ited work and res­i­dence per­mit to grant for­eign grad­u­ates of Ger man uni­ver­si­ties un­re­stricted ac­cess to the job mar­ket. Af­ter com­plet­ing the de­gree in Ger­many, one can stay on in the coun­try for up to 18 months to look for a job that is in keep­ing with one’s ed­u­ca­tion.

Once one finds a job, the res­i­dence per­mit is­sued for the pur­pose of study­ing, can be con­verted into a res­i­dence per­mit for tak­ing gain­ful employment. Ger­many has a strong in­dus­try­a­cademia link­age. A lot of sci­en­tific re­search is funded by the in­dus­try as well. Dur­ing stud­ies, one can get the op­por­tu­nity to do in­tern­ships with Ger­man com­pa­nies.

I MAGESBAZAAR

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