For some, going abroad easier option than DU

With cut-offs soaring and available seats shrinking in India’s top colleges, students are increasingly looking for greener pastures abroad.

Competition is particularly high in Delhi University where even after scoring above 90 per cent in school-leaving board exams students are going abroad as they don't expect to get a DU college of their choice.

Bharat Kwatra knows that he doesn't stand a chance of getting into Shri Ram College of Commerce or Hindu College this year.

"I am pretty sure the cut-off list for BCom is going to be sky high. Students with below 90 per cent should simply forget about getting BCom (Hons) in good colleges. That's why I have decided I'll go to Australia,” Bharat says.

"Last year, my cousin scored 94.5 per cent, and he missed getting Eco (Hons) at Stephen's. The cut-offs in Delhi are crazy. Last year was bad enough, and this time it's going to be worse. I have told my dad to invest all his savings on me. My dad will willingly invest in my education,” he adds.

Bharat is just one of the many class 12 students who are turning to foreign universities as competition gets tougher at home, even for the best of them. With Delhi University set to release its first cut-off list in June, many students are guessing that scores at some of the top colleges might even reach 100 percent – like last year – in some subjects.

Like Bharat, Hemant Pathania is also grappling with a sense of uncertainty about his future. A bright student throughout his academic life, Hemant is confident of securing above 95 per cent his class 12 boards this year. His parents, however, are still worried about him getting admission in a top Delhi University college.

With his expected cumulative score — which is the sole criterion for admission in most DU colleges —Hemant knows that he would be rejected by the top colleges. But the Science student has an alternative plan of applying to various foreign universities.

“Our first choice is St Stephen's, but we know that Hemant won't make it, at least not in the first cut-off list. Going by the results last year, it is quite possible that he might not get the course of his choice at even Hindu or Hans Raj. So we are exploring the idea of sending him to Surrey University for his BSc,” says Rekha Pathania, his mother.

“We don't want to send him to any B-grade college here," she adds. Around seven lakh Indian students went abroad for studies in 2015, spending around US $ 6-7 billion annually on their education, according to an ASSOCHAM report.

With the US as the number one preferred destination for Indian students, the UK and Australia come second and third followed by Germany and France.

“An important reason for many Indians choosing to study abroad is the lack of good institutions in India and growing competition for limited seats amongst the existing institutes,” says Manju Negi, Deputy Director,
ASSOCHAM.

“Very few universities in India provide good quality education and thus the challenge of securing admission in them becomes more daunting each year,” Negi adds.

Foreign universities are more than happy in lapping up Indian students. They have stepped up their efforts to woo them.

“Indian students are there in almost all foreign universities. In the USA alone, they make for the second largest foreign-student population, after the Chinese. And this number is only growing,” says Mukta from a consultancy helping students go abroad.

“Earlier, it was only the wealthy Indian families who would send their kids to the best foreign universities, while the middle-class ones used to settle for DU as the cheaper and best option. But with DU increasingly becoming out of reach for many bright students from middle-class families, these foreign universities have become their last and only option," Mukta adds.

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