Thursday, July 24, 2014

Indian students' enrolment in German universities up more than 100% in 5 years

For increasing number of Indians, Germany is emerging a favoured higher education destination overseas. There has been 114% increase in the number of Indian students enrolling for higher education courses there since 2008, according to the latest figures released by the regional office of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).

The number of students enrolled has increased from 3,516 in the 2008-09 academic year to 7,532 in 2012-13. US, UK, Australia and Canada have been the most favoured destinations for Indian students, partly due to the absence of a language barrier. But Germany, which has the fifth biggest Indian student population on campuses, has sought to bridge the gap by introducing courses in English and easing visa norms to allow students to look for jobs there after completion of studies.

Engineering courses were the chosen area of study for nearly half the number (close to 48%), followed by mathematics and natural sciences (19.8%). Information technology (13.8%), and law, economics and social sciences (9.4%) are the other courses sought after by Indian students in Germany.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Franziska Lindhout, Director of the DAAD Information Centre in Chennai, said Germany encourages Indian students to sign up for masters and research in engineering as not many natives show an interest in the discipline. "It's least taken up by those in Germany, and the country needs students in these areas, so Germany is interested in cooperation with Indian technical higher educational institutions," she said.

Lindhout said efforts were being made to internationalise German institutions. "It's no longer a prerequisite to learn German to study there. We invite Indian students to pick up the language to help them adapt better and for jobs, But it is not required to pursue a masters or for the visa procedure. It is part of the internationalization process, and DAAD has been pushing for it," she said.

Germany has also made a conscious effort to woo Indian students by sponsoring initiatives aimed at enabling Indian students to study, carry out research and gain work experience in that country. Since 2009, 46 new co-operation projects have been forged between Indian and German universities. Working and research internships and scholarships are part of the effort. Changes in visa rules to allow Indian students more time to look for employment has also helped increase the number of Indian students headed to Germany. Indians comprise the second largest international student population in Germany, second only to China.

There are not as many undergraduate students from India as those who opt for masters or doctoral degrees in Germany. "There are few English-medium UG courses to choose from in Germany and the school finals in India are not equivalent to that offered in Germany. But, now there are many masters programmes offered in English," said Padmavathi Chandramouli, Information Manager of DAAD centre in Chennai.

As many as 1,324 Indian students and 761 German students have been part of the DAAD exchange programme. Co-operation agreements have been signed between German institutions and the IITs, IIMs, the Department of Science and Technology, and the University Grants Commission. While the country does not offer any scholarships for masters' degrees, its research grants for doctoral programmes in Germany and the bi-nationally supervised doctoral degrees are well known.

Source: The Times of India, July 24, 2014

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