Editorial Team

Shiksha, a part of Info Edge Limited and one of India’s leading career and college selection website for students, recently surveyed on “Impact of global COVID-19 lockdowns on study abroad plans of Indian students” that highlights the moods and preferences of students who are planning to go for 2020 intake and those in the early stages of their 2021 intake journey.

The survey “Impact of global COVID-19 lockdowns on study abroad plans of Indian students” has been done amongst students interested in study abroad programs. Amongst the total number of survey respondents, 72% of respondents planned to go in 2020, while 27% of respondents planned to go in 2021 or later.

As per the survey report, for the students who are looking for 2020 intake, 46% are extremely concerned about the impact on jobs and salaries which seems to suggest that students are already thinking about long term potential impacts on their future jobs and salaries. If this turns around, students will revive their admission plans. Other dimensions where students are extremely concerned are personal health, international travel and any future impact on stay back periods. The quality of online education also seems to be a cause of worry. Whereas the concerns for students who are planning for 2021 intake or onwards, the next year intake students are even more worried about personal health, arranging finances, accommodation, impact on jobs & salaries.

While inquiring if the current situation has impacted their study abroad plans, amongst students who want to go abroad this year, very few students (11%) are strongly considering canceling their plans and 41% are strongly confirming that they are planning to go and have not changed their plan. On the other hand, 50% are considering the possibility of deferring their plan to future intake and 76% of students are likely to see how the situation evolves. This seems to suggest that if the situation turns around, both students and universities have a good chance of rescuing their intake. A very similar pattern emerged in the case of aspirants for 2021 or later. (Kindly Note: This question was a multiple choice where students can select multiple options because the underlying situation is changing quite dynamically and forced preference taken on a particular day may not hold true in future weeks as the situation changes.)

The study also emphasizes that a majority of students (61%) interested in 2020 intake have suggested they will defer to future intake while 26% have indicated their willingness to enroll in online classes. It has been observed that Canada & the USA are two countries where there seems to be a maximum willingness to enroll online. However, these are countries that also have a maximum time difference with India. So when classes are conducted during daytime in these countries, it will be night in India and this can become an impediment in their uptake.

A much higher percentage of respondents who are interested in Australia are likely to defer to the next intake (78%). This could be due to the availability of some courses in Oct-Nov intake or due to the requirement of high upfront deposit amounts.

Shiksha Study Abroad survey – “Impact of global COVID-19 lockdowns on study abroad plans of Indian students” also focuses on the fact that if the current situation is likely to have an impact on students who are interested in 2021 or future intakes changing their study destination. It shows that students who are interested in Australia are most likely to change their country preference (69% are likely), while those interested in the UK are least likely to change their country preference (only 25% are likely). Since every country has its dynamics, it made more sense to look at this data from the destination country of interest of the survey respondent.

In this context, Mr. Vivek Jain, Chief Business Officer Shiksha.com said, “As we can see, the survey clearly shows a likely change in student’s choice of the country due to the current situation. Students are more likely to shift away from Australia and New Zealand while aspirants preferring US/Canada are more convinced of their choice of country. 72% of students are planning to go abroad to study this year, clearly indicating that majority of students are not abandoning the study abroad plan. I expect number of students going abroad for higher studies to see a temporary decline and again increase after the fears subside. While global economy may get impacted in the short run, students going abroad for studies get impacted by situation prevailing when they graduate and not when they join the course. If the economy sees an improvement next year onwards, students joining the courses this year may benefit. My suggestion will be to not panic and stick to your long term plans.”

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