The progressive increase in the number of students preferring to pursue higher education abroad since 2016 saw a massive dip in 2020 owing to the ensuing pandemic. According to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), only 2.6 lakh students went abroad for higher studies in 2020 as compared to nearly 5.19 lakh in 2019 – a dip of around 55 per cent.
The ravages of the global pandemic and subsequent lockdowns not just created roadblocks for students but also affected the economy of some of the top study destinations around the world.
After this setback, governments and universities across the world repurposed their strategies towards international students to reverse the trend. Many institutions made quick and dramatic changes in their course delivery methods by shifting to online teaching and learning programs.
Thanks to the rapid shift to online learning and worldwide vaccination programs, the upward trend in higher education abroad is making a comeback, with a leading daily reporting that more than 70,000 students moved abroad for their education in the first two months of 2021. Government initiatives to help students Spring 2021 is witnessing a rebound as many countries have relaxed their travel restrictions after the brief restrictions imposed on Indian students abroad during the second wave of the pandemic. The softening of visa rules by the USA, Canada, UK, Ireland, and Germany, among a host of others, has been welcomed by Indian students.
American universities have started a drive to vaccinate students on-campus to ensure a safe environment for all. On the other hand, Australia, with its high vaccination rate of 70 per cent of the population, is gearing up for a well-planned roadmap to welcome international students once again.
The UK has made necessary changes in finding suitable housing for international students. The reintroduction of the ‘Graduate Route’, a.k.a Post Study Work Visa, provides international graduates up to two years to gain necessary experience in organisations – another major reason to re-popularise study in the UK. This includes removing conditions like a ‘job offer in hand’ or a ‘minimum salary requirement’ to stay in the UK.
Canadian universities have drawn up comprehensive Covid-19 readiness plans. Canada plans to remove the suspension on all flights from India from September 21, 2021. Also, students reaching Canada are not required to quarantine on arrival.
Keeping the international student interest in Canadian education, the government has made positive changes to the immigration rules by introducing the Open Work Permit in the interim of Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) approval. The new measures also make the international students, who completed their Canadian education online due to travel restrictions, eligible for PGWP. Emerging and evergreen courses
Even before the pandemic began, international education preferences had started showing a shift towards subjects other than Computer Sciences and Engineering. Over the years, students have started showing interest in courses like Liberal Studies, Development Studies, Culinary Art, Urban Planning, and Architecture.
Adding to the above are specialised programs like Robotics and AI, Cybersecurity, Virtual Reality /Artificial Reality, and Business Analytics/ Data Analytics, which […]