The time is over

The 2019 novel Coronavirus has taught us many terrible lessons, but I will only touch on one, which I haven’t talked about so far. How and why has the cost of education in India increased so dramatically when the possibility of getting a job at the end of this course has decreased so drastically? Here’s some food for thought, one I learned last week and something that made my hair stand on end.

Himalayan foothills medical schools suddenly charge Rs 4 lakh per student per year, compared to Rs 75,000 per year just 18 months ago. A five-year course that previously cost Rs 375,000 now allows students and their families to earn Rs 22 lakh. Don’t argue with my math. There is also an Rs 2-lakh link that needs to be put in place now, perhaps to amplify things. This is a new recipe for the CTC (Corporate ‘Cost to Company’ transformed into educational chauvinism) in our new India, which is already turning its head and heading for a new disaster.

In my own India, in Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Thiruvananthapuram and Chennai, things are just as obtuse and alarming, with colleges charging exorbitant fees, and we are talking about fixed fees on paper, not what happens in the name of fees. capitation. Back in the North, Haldwani Colleges and Doon Medical College charge fees that ignore sensitivity. Things are so expensive that students are protesting outside colleges demanding a respite from these crazy fee hikes. These two institutions alone bring the state government over Rs 126 crore per year in fees. Our country’s economy is in ruins, as we have often said. The dynamics of education are now taking a vicious turn. It is a cause for worry and worry.

The “Sarkari” colleges too…

It’s not just private colleges that are charging students through the nose, as the trend is the same at public colleges. It is therefore not surprising that the specter of the “brain drain” is accelerating. When a small family takes out a life threatening loan and the ‘biradari’ so that the little ones are qualified enough to find a job, they now tend to inevitably reach out to the western part of the world – to the UK. , the United States and Europe. Or Australia, New Zealand, Johannesburg. Because the future is more secure, the wages better. Loans can be repaid more comfortably. Remember, we don’t just pay annual fees while studying in India; there are coaching courses to pay, books and reference materials which also cost us thousands of rupees.

The recent protests in Tamil Nadu against the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) are an indicator of things to come. The state government recently introduced a bill calling for a permanent exemption from NEET, leading to a walkout from opposition parties. Elsewhere in the country, there is an uproar in colleges and the assembly in Uttarakhand as well, over why the state charges far more than neighboring Himachal Pradesh as exam fees. A similar outrage is seen in our prestigious IITs, IIMs and other leading institutions.

The starting point of the case is deeper. It’s not so much about fees; it is the lack of jobs at the end of the payments. Even the Indian Institute of Management charges an average of Rs 13.6 lakh per student per year. This was much earlier, as most first-year CTC packages for IIM graduates would pay that in a year or two at most. Today there is no guarantee of jobs or income.

Dangerous omens

Did I mention a brain drain? I did, I guess, but that only happens after our youngest are graduated and recruited, right? Nope. A disarming new trend is one where education lenders are seeing a surge in demands for outgoing students. Surprisingly, this does not include Indian banks, which are not seeing any increase in their loan portfolios. According to research reports, there was a 209% increase in applications for study abroad loans in the first quarter of fiscal 2022 alone, compared to the first quarter of the previous year, when we were in the grip of the first wave of the pandemic. Where do most applications come from? Well, they are for our undergraduates who want to travel to the US, UK, and parts of Europe.

Just last month, the United States announced that more than 55,000 Indian students and exchange visitors were heading to their geography for higher education, an “all-time high”. As for the UK, 3,200 students have been accepted there to universities for higher education, a new record, including my brother’s son and my best friend’s not-so-small. Our best budding brains are flying out of the country to learn how to make money. In the UK alone, the increase in the number of students traveling from India increased by 19% year over year.

It went quietly during the pandemic. As we all panicked and waved ‘thaalis’, peeled spoons and spatulas and made a racket, yelled ‘come on, Corona, come on’, our Next-Gen planned a quiet outing. And let’s not forget, we also lit candles and lit torches on our cellphones, reaching out to the divine to ward off evil. We may not have recognized the real devil.

Towards the American model?

Are we inadvertently moving towards the American model, where every college swoon ends up spending the first 10 years of their career paying off student loans? Let’s look at the trends in India, which hint at it. Management students leaving colleges recognized by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) are now getting far fewer jobs than before. In 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 alone, the number of graduates who find employment after leaving our colleges decreased by 23%. In Delhi alone, a comparable number of students graduating from management institutes compared to those who find employment has fallen by 37%. I am happy to have been born decades ago. Due to the 4,053 graduates, only 2,569 found paid employment.

In India, interest rates for study abroad loans have slipped to 9.5% for applications to leading global schools and universities. The size of the loan note is telling in itself, dropping from Rs 30 lakh last year to Rs 35 lakh per student in fiscal year 2021. The trend is on the rise, with demands skyrocketing, same for Ireland, the European Union and Singapore.

The demand for international courses has more than doubled in the past four months. We are seeing a pull of students preferring international universities to those in India. Ironically, Indian undergraduates even choose Russia and the Czech Republic over degrees from our homeland. Even Hitler would have been nauseous at this turn of events. Obviously, people who can afford it are bailing out their Next-Gen, if not themselves. Maybe once the new generation is capable, they will follow suit and leave our shores too. Where will this leave us and how did we let this happen? Or is the truth that we don’t really care anymore as a political regime? I do not know.

i could sing a song

Crooning has always been a passion, even a savior, but no song can help me digest this turn of events. People big and small, affluent and struggling, seem to have only one obsession now, that of getting the next generation out of the country. In our so-called attempts to create a new India, we have forgotten and rejected our creed and culture, desperate to take our future out of the country to save theirs. How and why did this happen?

I could try to find a faint comparison in my own life, my upbringing, how all of us kids grew up walking to and from school and college many miles away. These were good times we lived in, and we enjoyed every bit of the misery. But then again, I also remember the teachings of life for many decades; that when we look into the past, it’s up to us to do it on our own. So I’ll let you discover this one for yourself. These are very personal thoughts and choices, tantalizing but poignant growth experiences and memories. Things are definitely changing, and clearly not for good.

The author is a communications consultant and clinical analyst. He can be contacted at [email protected]. Opinions expressed are personal

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