Over the past few years, China has risen through the ranks to enter the top 10 education destinations for Indian students. What does the country have to offer?
Unlike many other things that the Covid-19 pandemic punctuated, students studying abroad felt its wrath more palpably as they had to make their way back and then continue their courses online. There was and continues to be a special spotlight on China, the neighboring country in the eye of the coronavirus controversy, where many Indian students, mostly medical, were stuck when the pandemic broke out in December 2019.
Since then, the 23,000 students have returned to India but are now waiting, some even protesting, to go back to the communist country to finish their degrees. It was only in the last week of April this year that China, which had canceled flights and visas for Indians over two years ago, offered them some respite. While Beijing has said that it will allow Indian students to go back on a ‘need-assessed’ basis, a timeline for the same has still not been set.
The ongoing tussle has also highlighted how China has risen to become one of the top 10 destinations for Indian students in the recent past.
In July 2021, answering a question in the Rajya Sabha about the number of Indian students studying abroad, Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan had placed the number at 11.3 lakh students, including 23,000 studying in China.
There are galore for Indian incentive students to pick China. “The universities offer scholarships for students pursuing higher studies in medicine, engineering, business studies, etc. Also, the cost of living in some cities in China is much lower when compared to other countries like the US, the UK, etc,” says Harsh Bharwani, CEO and MD of Jetking Infotrain, a computer networking institute. Students also get quality education and good work experience after their courses, he adds.
With the cost of quality education in India increasing significantly year after year, neighbor China is being seen as a viable option by many. Many universities in China now also offer classes in English, solving the persistent issue of language barrier.
For years now, China, the world’s factory, has dominated the field of manufacturing. High production of both capital and consumer goods, boosted by an economy that has complementary policies, has made the country a competitive market which has a constant demand for human resources.
This opens doors for students who want to work there as well. From teaching to jobs related to business, trade, IT, tech, hospitality, tourism, finance, engineering and even research and development jobs—the list of opportunities is long.
Tread With Caution
While opportunities beckon, the Indo-China geopolitical tussle is and will continue to be an issue for students looking to pursue a future in the neighboring country.
In April this year, the University Grants Commission and the All India Council for Technical Education said that degrees from Pakistan, another geopolitical rival, will not be accepted in India henceforth. However far-fetched, such a possibility is a definite risk that students studying in China would have to take into consideration.