Students’ exodus costs India forex outflow of $10 bn: Assocham

January 26th, 2009 - 6:58 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 26 (IANS) Indian students going abroad for their higher studies cost the country a foreign exchange (forex) outflow of $10 billion annually, according to an industry lobby report released here Monday.The report by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Assocham) said despite subsidised engineering and management education, about 500,000 students choose to go abroad every year.

This amount is sufficient to open as many as 20 engineering and management institutes of repute in the country to prevent brain drain, it added.

“The primary reason why large number of Indian students are forced to opt for foreign universities is that Indian institutions have high capacity constraints. This trend can be reversed by opening a series of quality institutions with public private partnership by completely deregulating higher education,” Assocham president Sajjan Jindal said in the report.

Higher education in India is so subsidised that on an average an engineering or management student in a reputed institution pays $120 per month as fees, while the amount is between $1,500-5,000 in an equivalent institution in countries like the US, Canada, Australia, Singapore and Britain, the report said.

“If higher education is deregulated, there is no reason why India cannot earn $50-100 billion annually and provide at least 10-20 million additional jobs in the field of education alone,” the chamber added.

Australia earns nearly $12 billion annually from around 400,000 foreign students. Countries like Singapore are planning to have 150,000 foreign students.

India has only 27,000 foreign students and has no plans for any regulated increase because of controls in higher education.

Also vocational education percentage in India is at meagre 5 percent of its total employed workforce of 459.10 million as against 95 percent of South Korea, 80 percent of Japan and 70 percent of Germany.

China has over 500,000 vocational schools while India has less than 3,000 such institutions.

This makes a strong case for India to allocate a substantial percentage of its budgetary allocations to promote vocational education to make the country a manufacturing hub, Assocham said.

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