Indian students surpass Chinese students going to the US and the UK – Here\’s why?

Indian students surpass Chinese students going to the US and the UK - Here's why?

As compared to Chinese nationals, Indian students have an upper hand when it comes to acquiring jobs in western countries. This is because they have better communication skills.

A report was recently released by the UK on immigration. The report showed that the largest group of foreign students in the country are, currently, comprised of Indian students. This has surpassed the number of students from China.

127,731 visas were granted to Indian students, according to the Immigration Statistics Report, in September 2022. This is an increase of 93,470 which is a 273 per cent increase against the number 34,261 in 2019.

Moreover, to those from China, 116,476 visas were granted. This is, however, 2 per cent lower than the number seen in 2019 which was 119,231. Similarly, the number of Indian students, in the US, has more than doubled. The number of Indian students heading to America, according to the Open Doors Report 2022, has predicted to surpass the number of students from China in 2022-23.

The Covid-19 pandemic

It is believed by some experts that the decline in the number of Chinese nationals and the rise in the number of Indian students in the United States and the United Kingdom might be due to the Covid-19 pandemic among others.

When it came to nationality for sponsored study grants, Chinese students used to be the largest group between 2010 to June 2022. However, a decline of 8.6 per cent was observed in 2021-2022. According to the Open Doors report 2022 on international students released recently, the number of Chinese students was at 2.9 lakhs in the United States.

There are various underlying factors behind this phenomenon. Such factors include fear of catching Covid overseas. Also, in such circumstances, the challenges with respect to returning home for students were evaluated.

Decrease in Chinese students due to pandemic

In the first half of 2022, the number of student visas granted to Chinese citizens decreased by more than 50 per cent when compared to the pre-pandemic levels. Many Chinese students who were aspiring to pursue higher education in the US and the UK had to reevaluate their plans.

The Regional Director of South Asia and Mauritius of IDP Education stated that this was due to pandemic-related visa delays, increased global competitiveness and unfavourable political policies. The number of Chinese students has been dropping for the past five years according to data from the Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade).

The Vice-Chancellor of Macquarie University stated that a strict part of the Covid-19 management process of the country was travel restrictions. This restriction has led to many taking up learning in online mode.

The former chairman of the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has agreed that Covid-19 could be a reason for the decrease in Chinese students. However, it is not the only reason. Some breaks have been certainly put by the pandemic on the movement. The Covid after-effects, in China, have never really died down. Thus, this is one reason.

Policy on Look China

It was stated by the former education minister of the United Kingdom that the decline in the number of Chinese nationals coming to the UK to study is due to the overall government policies of China regarding international organisations.

He stated that there is more of a meeting of minds between the UK and India about studying internationally. Currently, the Chinese government is promoting its local facilities and institutions. The look China policy is now followed by China in which they are promoting their own facilities and institutions.

They are aiming to motivate the young talent so that they can stay back in the country. Rather than abroad, they can, thus, conduct research and development for their home country. There has been a decline in the number of nationals.

However, the vacancies have not decreased. Therefore, students from India fill this gap. Thus, there is an increase in the number of Indian students travelling abroad for higher education.

Upper Hand in Jobs for Indian students

As compared to Chinese nationals, Indian students have an upper hand when it comes to acquiring jobs in western countries. This is because they have better communication skills.

For Indian students, language is not a problem. Indians are fundamentally loyal, sincere and trustworthy. Therefore, they are mostly preferred. Many of the students get a scholarship. They also acquire some other ways to support themselves in order to go abroad for higher studies.

They prefer going to the US, the UK and Australia as communication is not a problem. This is especially growing now as Covid has subsided. Another probable reason behind this decline, according to the former AICTE chief may be that Chinese nationals are not trusted with research or data-based jobs. This is due to concerns about a data breach.

In the US and the UK, a lot of the universities are connected to real-time research industries. Thus, Chinese students participating in active research that happens in this space, that connects to society and other niche areas, are not much preferred. Due to security issues, Indian students are highly trusted. Regarding letting the research go out, there are various fears.

The issue of Racism

The possibility of the rise in racism after Covid-19 against Chinese nationals in western countries was questioned as the reason behind the hesitancy of students from China about studying abroad. Racism in British society against Chinese nationals is not disregarded.

However, the UK is a very multi-cultural and multi-ethnic society. From the polling evidence, it is seen that the vast majority of people support international students coming to the UK. This list includes Chinese students as well. However, it is disagreed with by some Asian students studying in the UK.

They still recall the moments in British cities when they were victims of racism. Even before the pandemic, Asians had been using face masks. They had also been made fun of and ridiculed for their colour before the Covid pandemic too. However, after the pandemic, this phenomenon increased.

Several times on the streets of the UK, students from Asia have been told to go back to their countries. A recent graduate from the UK stated that she had some other friends from an Asian background who have dealt with the same issue of racism.

Preferred Destinations for Asian students

The popularity of the US and the UK as preferred study-abroad destinations has not been impacted even though students from India have the option of studying in several countries. For Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) courses, the US remains to be the go-to destination.

Similarly, some prestigious universities hosted by the UK rank high in the global ranking assessment. In the UK, Indian students usually opt for the best-in-class management, medical and law courses. Experts believe that they generally look forward to practical training. They also look for real-life case studies that are offered to them.

A British High Commission spokesperson stated that education is one of the mainstays and it is a unique living bridge that connects the UK and India. They are happy to see that more than 127,700 student visas were issued to Indian nationals at the end of September 2022. This is a 273 per cent increase since 2019.

The UK society has the Indian community well-integrated into it as well. The country has been made an attractive destination for Indian students due to some of the changes such as the two-year post-study work visa.

Other initiatives are also offered by private institutes or organisations from the United Kingdom. Some of them include the 2+1 programs which help introduce the British education system to Indian students. They attract Indian students to study in the United Kingdom.

Destinations not preferred by Indian students

Currently, Indian students are hesitant about heading to Russia, Ukraine and some Asian countries due to the Russia-Ukraine war and Covid-19. Therefore, the trust they put in the US and UK continues to remain the same and if not, even more trustworthy, when compared to the previous times.

The value of a US degree is unparalleled in the world and Indian students and parents recognise them effectively. A spokesperson from the US embassy stated that they were fortunate to attract students from almost every country across the globe, including India.

Moreover, over a million international students are currently pursuing higher education in the United States. This number includes more than 2 lakh students from India.

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