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Sunday, 22 January 2012

Will Bidve murder deter Indians from studying in UK?

The recent murder of an Indian college student in Salford has been closely followed in India. Anuj Bidve was shot dead on 24 December while out with friends.
Many Indians, specially affluent, aspirational ones, travel to the UK to study and are a major source of income for British universities. But increasingly, many prefer to go elsewhere.
So will the latest incident hurt the UK's case?
The Modern School is one of Delhi's most elite - a lot of the students here tend to go abroad once they finish their studies.
"Most of our students do well academically," says Bavin Gupta, a Modern School counsellor who advices students who want to study abroad.
"But often it's not enough to get into a good college here. So many of them find it easier to go abroad."
For final year students, this is the crunch period when they find out which college has accepted their application.
The US and the UK are the countries where most people have applied, but a few are having second thoughts about going to Britain.
"The [Bidve] incident was traumatic and left a lasting impact," says Lakshya Narang.
His parents are now refusing to allow him to go the UK to study.
'Played up' But this is not a widespread trend.
Another student, Shub, believes the case has been played up by the media.
Anuj Bidve Anuj Bidve, 23, was studying at Lancaster University when he was killed
"Of course, a thought does cross my mind but it's not enough to make me not want to go any more."
What is more apparent is that, increasingly, many of the students are picking the US over the UK as a college destination.
"I never did plan to apply to the UK because it's simply not practical, financially, for me or my family," says Malvika, who is hoping to major in psychology.
"I am applying to schools in the US where I know I can get a lot of financial aid.
There are other, more compelling reasons.
"For a student going to study in the US who hopes to return to India to work here, having a Harvard or a Yale on your resume as opposed to a Bath or a Leeds is obviously an advantage."
This may not be good news for British Universities who are hoping to attract more Indian students.
'Lot to offer' Indians are the second largest group of international students in the UK, after the Chinese, contributing about £600m to the British economy every year.
Bavin Gupta Bavin Gupta advises Modern School students who want to study abroad
Sally Goggin, education director at the British Council in Delhi, argues that British universities still have a lot to offer students looking for a qualification that has world recognition.
"The conversation we have with industry and business reinforces that they are very happy to see future employees come in with a UK qualification."
But that may not be enough, says Nick Booker, who helps UK and US universities raise their profile in India to attract fresh talent. He explains why the Americans hold the edge.
"About 100,000 Indian students now travel to the US every year for education, compared to around 30,000 to the UK.
"American institutions are now investing huge amounts of money in India to attract the brightest and the best and are offering enormous scholarships."
As more and more Indians look for a quality education, this is a market that's growing. It's also extremely competitive.
"For UK universities to remain globally recognised and to be carrying out cutting edge research, they're going to need to go where the talent is - and also where the funding is," says Nick Booker.
"Increasingly, that is India."
The Anuj Bidve murder may not have entirely changed the way Indian students look at the UK as an option for a college degree.
But it is still not going to be that easy for British universities to continue to attract talent from India.

BBC

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