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According to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), more Indian students are now going abroad to pursue higher education. In fact, spending on tuition and hostel fees by Indians studying overseas has gone up by 44 percent from $1.9 billion in 2013-14 to $2.8 billion in 2017-18. While the US, Canada and the UK remain the key destinations for them, students are now increasingly opting for Australia and EU countries as well. In a recent statement, Rod Hilton, deputy high commissioner of Australia in India, said that his country is now accommodating 68,000 Indian students. The statistics indicate that Indians will continue to flock to foreign countries for educational purposes in the next few years. And, with 2019 just around the corner, let's have a look at the trends that will shape the overseas education industry the forthcoming year.
Courses that will remain popular
STEM courses (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) have always remained the top preferences for Indian students, and 2019 will see no exception. From software engineering to computer programming and accounting to statistics, they will take up STEM subjects to get lucrative job opportunities following the completion of their degree. With several universities around the world tying up with industrial bodies make their curriculum more relevant to today's jobs, STEM courses will still be in high demand in next year.
Unconventional courses catching the attention of Indian students
As per recent data revealed by the 2018 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange, Indian and other international students in the US are now showing a strong interest in off-beat courses like marine engineering, geophysics, game design and development. One main reason behind the shift in their demeanour is that these interdisciplinary courses are not easily available in their home countries. Also, as parents in India become more supportive of their children's career choices, students are no longer shying away from choosing the road less travelled. In 2019, unusual courses are expected to strike the chord with more Indians enrolled in foreign universities.
Rise of specialized courses
With the ongoing 4th industrial revolution and rapid progress in automation, machine learning and AI (artificial intelligence), traditional job roles are evolving and new jobs are coming up. In line with the changing times, modern employers are now lookout for people who are skilled in these specialized fields. This explains why some specialized courses such as Robotics, Automation and Mechatronics are likely to witness a demand in 2019. Other than that, disability programmes and infection control courses seem to gain popularity among Indian students heading abroad.
Most preferred countries for higher education in 2019 US
As mentioned earlier, the United States will be the top international destination for Indian students in the coming year. According to a statement by the USIEF earlier this year, with over 186,000 Indians studying in the US, they make up 17 per cent of all overseas students in the country. In 2019 too, the North American country will attract lakhs of Indian students who wish to strengthen their curriculum vitae.
Canada is another country that has been the favourite destination for Indian students for years. Unlike the US, the Canadian government allows them to stay back in the country and get the work permit after they finish their post-graduate degree. Especially, following the introduction of the SDS (Study Direct Stream) Programme, there has been a significant rise in the number of Indians applying for a student visa for Canada. As we come to the end of another year, the numbers are speculated to further go up.
Cities like Melbourne and Sydney have remained the favourite destinations among the Indian students. However, in 2018, there was a noticeable shift towards new regions such as Gold Coast, Adelaide, Perth, and Northern Territory. In Australia, students tend to opt for postgraduate courses as having a master's degree paves the path for permanent residency.
While the number of Indians studying in the UK has dropped alarmingly due to strict student immigration laws and lack of stay-back opportunities, the government is now looking to increase the inflow of international students. In fact, a cross-party group of British Parliamentarians plans to change the country's post-study visa policy. If the post-study work visa is reintroduced, more students will turn to the UK for higher studies. Also, the one-year master's courses offered here ensure relatively lower expenditure and faster entry into the workforce.
Other European countries
Germany, Ireland, Latvia and a few other European countries are also emerging as popular study destinations for Indian students seeking quality education.