Why lakhs of Indians go abroad to study

Contact Counsellor

Why lakhs of Indians go abroad to study

  • A recent report estimates that about 8 lakh students travel abroad for higher education every year.
  • Their spending is approximately $28 billion or 1% of the country's GDP.


  • No parent want to put their child through the madness of competitive exams, closing ranks and coaching classes in high school and placement and packages in college.
  • Migration of students in large numbers to other countries reflect the condition of the Indian institutions.
  • These migrations are a loss, not just of capital but also of human resource because most of them settle in foreign countries.

Some data in support

  • These spendings are about $6 billion(fees to foreign universities).
  • This is about Rs 45,000 crore, adequate capital to start and run 10 new IITs, IISERs or JNUs or any such elite institution every year.
  • Even after 70 years of Independence, and the last 8 years of vigorous policy initiatives, Country neither have Aatmanirbharta nor a value proposition in higher education.

Why is that

  • It’s about jobs.
  • There are about 3 crore taxpayers(two-thirds of these are the number of salaried people).
  • There are only about 10 lakh fresh jobs available each year.
  • there are about 3 lakh “good” jobs which pay Rs 5 lakh per annum (LPA) or more.
  • Only 30,000 “posh” jobs which pay a starting salary of Rs 10 lakh-plus per annum.
  • Hardly any Indian company serving the Indian customer offers a starting salary of Rs 10 lakh per annum.

MHRD data

  • About 30 lakh students graduated last year from about 45,000 colleges.
  • About 1 crore unemployed graduates are seeking jobs.
  • This is 10 times the number of salaried jobs, 30 times the good jobs and 300 times the number of posh jobs available every year.
  • Good jobs are concentrated in about 800 top colleges and posh jobs in 80-100 elite colleges(the IITs and IIMs, St Stephen’s in Delhi, Presidency College in Kolkata etc.).

Why are there so few jobs

  • Outdated labor laws,
  • Inadequate investments,
  • Bureaucratic cholesterol.
  • There is a deeper connection with higher education and it begins with the job description.
  • Most job descriptions in the public sector have remained stagnant since independence.
  • There is no statistician in the district public health department nor an economist in the agriculture department.

Way Ahead

  • There should be a clear role for the elite central institutions, the IITs, the IISERs, JNU and others.
  • They should look at the problems of the day, formalize them, and convert them into business models and job definitions.
  • They should then have supported local institutions and entrepreneurs in the deployment of these solutions.
  • They have very little primary experience in solving the hard problems that the world faces today, it needs proper attention and further engagement.