College education abroad – an exploration
Traditionally, Indian students have opted to do their bachelor’s programmes in India and explore opportunities outside India for their post-graduate or master’s studies. Today, however, with the growing awareness of international options at the bachelor’s (or undergraduate) level, parents (and students) are beginning to explore studying abroad after high school (grade 12). Students may choose from diverse courses in universities or colleges across the world. They can explore internships in foreign settings, experience a multi-cultural environment and prepare themselves for a fulfilling career in a globalised work environment. There is a lot of information available about the various international undergraduate programmes. Not having much first-hand knowledge of the process, however, Indian parents are sometimes overwhelmed, and at times confused, about how they can guide their children through the process. The ‘Education Across the Seas’ series from ParentEdge helps you make sense of all the details. We feature the experiences of students abroad, apart from bringing you interviews with experts. We also provide invaluable data to help you decide if a foreign undergraduate education is the right option for your son or daughter. In this issue, we present an overview of the undergraduate options in three countries that are on the radar screen of many — the US, the UK and Singapore.
Is there a reason to look beyond India for my child to pursue undergraduate studies? Does India not have numerous options?
There is no doubt that India has a well evolved higher education system of colleges, including professional colleges. The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and National Institutes of Technology (NITs) are highly reputed, and there are more than 3000 engineering and over 400 medical colleges across the country.
Having said this, here are our observations on the state of higher education in India. First, while the number of colleges has been increasing, there has been a sharp fall in standards between the top few and the next tier colleges. Hence, competition for the best colleges is disproportionately high. Second, there is a dearth of quality institutions that offer non-professional courses, which becomes a challenge for students wanting options beyond engineering, medicine or law. Third, our system forces students to make up their minds even as they finish grade 10, and the higher secondary curriculum seldom gives children an opportunity to keep their options open. These are some reasons to explore the possibilities in other countries that have a reputation for providing a sound education, and see if they provide your child with a better platform for the future.