Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Indian students feel unwelcome in Britain

A majority of Indian students have admitted to feeling highly unwelcome in the UK. A study of the attitudes of 3,100 international students by the National Union of Students (NUS) has revealed almost 50% feel the UK government was either "not welcoming" or "not welcoming at all towards overseas students". The NUS is a confederation of students' unions in the UK.

The UK earns £7.9 billion a year from international students. By 2024, one in every three outbound higher education students across the globe is expected to be from India and China.

Figures revealed on Tuesday showed the non-welcoming attitude was most pronounced for PhD students. Almost 63% of Indian students doing their PhD in the UK felt unwanted, besides 64.5% from Japan and 63% from Nigeria. Students from India, Pakistan and Nigeria have also admitted advising their friends not to study in the UK.

Asked what bothered them the most, 40% cited moves to get landlords to check on their legal status, while 74% said introducing a National Health Service levy would make it impossible to study in the UK.

England is already witnessing a sharp tumble in the number of Indian students visiting its universities for higher education. Latest data shows between 2010-11 and 2011-12, over 10,000 fewer Indian students travelled to English shores to pursue a post-graduation degree. In percentage points, there was a nearly 25% fall in the number of Indian students studying a postgraduate course. While 39,090 Indian students enrolled in British universities in 2010-11 for a PG degree, the number fell to 29,900 in 2011-12.

Even after the drop, Indian and Chinese students make up almost 35% of all non-EU domicile students in the UK.

Prime minister David Cameron and home secretary Theresa May have pledged to reduce net migration to below 100,000 before the next election in 2015. Study remains the most common reason for migrating to the UK, but the numbers fell to 197,000 from 239,000 the previous year.

Source: The Times of India, February 12, 2014

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