We must be able to give better opportunities to our average youth. Chetan Bhagat’s column We must be able to give better opportunities to our average youth

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  • Chetan Bhagat’s column We must be able to give better opportunities to our average youth

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Chetan Bhagat, English novelist

Recent trends show that the number of Indian students going abroad for higher education is increasing rapidly. This number has more than doubled in the last six years. In a reply to a recent question in the Rajya Sabha, it was said that 11.3 lakh Indian students are currently studying abroad. This number will increase even more in 2022.

A record number of Indian students have gone abroad this year despite the continued depreciation of the rupee. They pay billions of dollars in tuition fees alone. They spend almost the same amount to live or travel abroad. According to some reports, the amount spent abroad by Indian students in a year can be as high as $30 billion.

This is such a large amount that many new colleges and universities can be opened in our country. For example, in 2018 the government increased the budget to fund eight new IITs. This amount was equal to 13.99 billion rupees or 2 billion dollars. So what’s going on? Why is there such a demand for studying abroad despite being so expensive?

There have also been reports of parents selling land and property or taking out large loans to send their children abroad. Although there has been a boom in new private universities in India in the last two decades, the temptation to study abroad is still great. Every year millions of students complete their graduation in India. But according to various surveys, 90% of them are those, who would like to study abroad if they have the opportunity.

When our movies, music, books, food, clothes, apps and hotels can compete with international standards, why can’t educational institutions do the same? Before we find the answer, we must look within ourselves. These are some of the reasons why Indian students prefer foreign countries.

1. Average universities in India are not of the same stature as any other average universities in UK, USA or Australia. Barring a few universities, educational institutions in India have failed to make a mark. Brands cannot be created from advertisements or logos alone. It requires confidence, excellence, top-notch knowledge and work style.

How many Indian universities do you remember that follow these values? Many private universities in India have built luxurious campuses, but their professors, curriculum, work style, thinking ability, etc., have maintained the same old style. It’s scary to trust our future in the hands of these people. Instead, it’s better to go to a 300-year-old university in the UK, even if it’s not one of the best.

2. Some Indian educational brands like St. Stephens or IITs continue to maintain their status even today. But these are the same colleges that were considered the best when I was a kid (and believe me, that’s really old now). Over the years, the number of students has increased greatly. But today the new IITs and IIMs do not have the same reputation as the old ones.

3. It is necessary to ask who runs these new schools? We have definitely built shiny campuses and given full-page ads in newspapers or put up huge billboards, but the question is, in whose hands are the reins of the colleges held by these people?

As good as the hardware is, the problem is the software. To make a great educational institution you need people full of inspiration, who can think far. No businessman or retired teacher can do this job. But you’ll usually find people like these at the helm of these new institutions.

4. Despite decades of discussions, even today there are no foreign university campuses in our country. Even if this is possible, many students will not be able to go abroad. If a reputed international university opens its campus in India, whether with a local partner or not, it will certainly adhere to its high standards of excellence and practices while keeping its brand in mind.

5. The truth is also that our country does not give as many opportunities to people with higher education, as some countries do abroad. We have only a few sectors like software, which require a large number of engineers. We also have some multinational jobs that are taken by students from top universities.

Although you can’t judge whether or not you should study abroad and everyone has the right to reach their full potential, but if we can make our universities a little more attractive, we can stop the flight of our talents Why can’t we create a country where no young person feels the need to go study or live abroad?

What about the top 20 percent?
We are able to meet the needs of our 2% of students, but not 20%. Changing the education system will not only work, we must also open up our economy, promote growth, become a manufacturing hub and adopt policies that attract investors to sectors that create jobs.

(These are the views of the author)

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