www.indiatoday.in | May 15, 2020
Rising layoffs, fewer employment opportunities in the offing, salary cuts on the horizon, saving rates dropping, banks reluctant to lend, uncertainties regarding future prospects, etc. makes education outside India a very difficult proposition.
Covid-19 has left a number of prospective student candidates pondering about their future plans of joining foreign universities in the new academic year 2020-21. Foreign universities have either cancelled on-campus visits and in some cases admissions until further notice. They have transcended to offering virtual tours for admissions.
However, personal visit to the campus is cancelled till further notice. A few of the universities are accepting admissions online, however when can a student physically join the campus is a big question mark that looms in the mind of prospective candidates?
Parents are concerned about their wards health, safety and future. 'What if the pandemic becomes severe again? Will my child be sent home? What if my child can't travel due to travel restrictions imposed in a country? How will he/she manage in such a dire situation?' These are a few questions revolving in the mind of every parent who had plans to send their ward to a foreign university after their 12th.
However, one need not despair. India is replete with options of liberal arts colleges that offer a unique bouquet of courses and have a well-endowed infrastructure. It might be a good idea to explore these Indian universities as the cost involved is one-fifth or lesser of the foreign universities. In addition to the cost savings, a high faculty to student ratio, top academic scholars, diverse student body, world class infrastructure and global student exchange tie-ups with esteemed universities abroad will give your ward an opportunity to experience world-class learning with the comfort of safety.
The reason for stressing on the cost saving is for multiple reasons. With the lockdown extended till May 17, 2020, global economic growth forecasts are dire. Rising layoffs, fewer employment opportunities in the offing, salary cuts on the horizon, saving rates dropping, banks reluctant to lend, uncertainties regarding future prospects, etc. makes education outside India a very difficult proposition. It may be a good idea to explore world-class options in India.
Studying abroad has been a rising trend over the past few years. It has not only led to a higher rupee outflow through outward remittances but also a brain drain for our country.
Of the total outward remittances worth USD 13.8 billion in 2018-19 under RBI - Liberalised Remittance Scheme (LRS), education - (tuition fees) remittance formed 25.9 per cent of the outflow. This percentage increased for the period April 2019 - February 2020 to 26.9 per cent of the total remittances worth USD 17.4 billion.
A glance at the monthly outward remittances for studying abroad indicates that March 2018 had remittances worth USD 134.1 million which has increased to USD 496.87 million in Feb 2020, a 270.5 per cent increase over the past 24 months. In the diagram below one can observe that remittances for education abroad as a percentage of total outward remittances has been on a rise from 12 per cent in March 2018 to 29 per cent in February 2020.
Source: RBI Monthly bulletin, section: Outward Remittances under the Liberalised Remittance Scheme (LRS) for Resident Individuals
Total outward remittances include deposits, immovable property purchases, equity/debt investments, gifts, donations, travel, medical treatment, studies abroad and others Studies abroad remittance includes tuition fees only, does not include student travel, medical, maintenance and other costs
With the rupee depreciating at 4-5 per cent on average every year against the US dollar and uncertainty in the global and local economy, it might be a good option to reconsider the decision to study abroad and consider studying in India for the various reasons discussed here.
- Prof. Jaslene Bawa, Assistant Professor – Finance
(Views expressed are personal)