Canada gains over Australia as Indian students look for safety

Tags: Knowledge
Security and easy migration norms seem to be the primary concerns of students while choosing a foreign country for higher studies. While the acts of violence against foreign nationals has led to a steady decrease in the number of Indian students opting for Australia, more peaceful Canada has been increasing its share over the past few years.

The number of students packing their bags for Australian universities has been declining since 2008. In that year 28,411 Indian students were studying in Australia and this came down to 12,629 by 2012, a drop of 56 per cent. Australia’s share of Indian students was 14.8 per cent in 2008 and it has dropped to 6.4 per cent in four years, as per a study by Technopak Advisors.

“There were incidents of racial discrimination and young boys being killed in Australia a few years back and all these made headlines. Families were scared to send their children and several agencies, which were providing migratory services shut down. Some of the dubious Australian universities were also providing courses just for the sake of migration. The Australian government had come down heavily on them,” said N Chandramouli, CEO of TRA (formerly Trust Research Advisory).

Meanwhile, Canada has been registering the fastest growth in attracting Indian students during the same period. Its share went up from 4.3 per cent to 14.7 per cent during this period.

Between 2006 and 2013, the number of Indian students going to Canada has risen by 357 per cent. In 2006 it was just 6,927 and has grown to 31,665 by 2013. Canada generated around $860 million in 2013 from Indian students staying in the country.

“Reputation of education system in Canada and safety are two important factors that beckon Indian students to the country. The society is tolerant and non-discriminatory, and summer jobs and opportunities after completion of study are available for foreign students,” said Aurobindo Saxena, associate director, education, Technopak Advisors.

The tuition fees and living expenses are less in Canada compared with the US and other countries, while students also have opportunity to get residency. “While both Canada and Australia promote migration, the norms are easier in Canada and the society too has a cosmopolitan structure,” said Chandramouli.

Once a student migrates to Canada, he need to pay the tuition fee applicable for local students and this is half of what an international student has to pay.

Meanwhile, the macro-economic concerns have been leading to a gradual decline in the number of students opting for the US since 2008. The numbers have dropped from 1,04,897 in 2009 to 96,754 by 2012.

Around 2,00,000 Indian students go abroad for higher education spending close to $15 billion annually. The US, the UK, Australia and Canada are the four major countries, which attract Indian students. The number of such students reached a peak in 2009-10, but has steadied since then.


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