Indians spend big on foreign education

indians studentsIndian students are spending between $6-7 billion annually on foreign universities due to dearth of quality higher education institutions in the country, a survey said on Tuesday.

‘Realigning Skilling towards Make in India’ – conducted jointly by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) and Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) – noted that in the absence of quality higher education and none of the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) making it to the world’s top research institutions, more and more Indian students are heading abroad.

Furthermore, only a miniscule number of them choose to return home, said the survey.

“Indians spend about $6-7 billion every year in sending their children abroad for higher education. It is not just the elite but the middle class families as well who spend their life time savings to educate their children abroad,” Assocham secretary general D.S. Rawat said.

While the much touted IITs have an annual enrolment of 10,000-15,000, focused only on the brightest students, they have neither produced a single worldwide patent nor a Nobel laureate.

“We still do not have a single equivalent of a Google, Facebook, Microsoft or Walmart or a Nike. Even a small country like Italy or Finland fare better (than India),” the survey said.

The study blamed “lack of commitment and resources for research” as one of the culprits.

“Ninety percent of the state and central funding goes into payment of salaries and overhead costs and building of new physical infrastructure which leaves almost no money for research and innovation,” the study said.

“Political interference and using universities as hubs for political activities only compounds the problems. Outdated curriculums, teachers and student unions ensure that status quo is preserved,” it added.