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Rising number of Indian students head for Germany for higher studies

Posted on September 25, 2014
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It’s that time of the year when Indian students are packing their bags and boarding flights to overseas campus destinations. And this year, there are many more science, engineering and technology students headed for Germany than previous years. The German government’s efforts, through the German Academic Exchange Service, or DAAD, over the past few years to attract more students from India for higher education is paying off with more and more young Indians choosing Germany over more expensive destinations.

“With our network across India, we conduct information sessions at different universities and research centres. DAAD also offers very comprehensive scholarship programmes and helps Indian and German universities to establish collaboration arrangements,” a DAAD spokesperson in Delhi said.

With over 1,600 programmes being offered in English by German universities, Indian students are now more at home there. But the biggest attraction is the fact that by virtue of being funded by the government, higher education in Germany is free or comes at a very small tuition fee – around Euro 500 per semester.

According to DAAD, all students – foreign and domestic – have to only pay semester contribution ranging from Euro 50 to 250, depending on the university and the benefits provided. Apart from the tuition fees, if any, a student requires about Euro 700 (apprx Rs 55,000) per month for housing, food, clothing, study material and other expenses.

According to industry estimates, approximate annual cost of higher education works out to around $6,285 in comparison to $35,705 in the US and $30,325 in the UK. Little surprise then that in 2013-14, there were 9,619 Indian students enrolled in German institutions of higher education, up from the previous year by over 2,000. Since 2010, the numbers have almost doubled.

But it’s not just about lower costs – Germany’s group of top nine tech universities – TU9 – attracts many Indian students for postgraduate courses from top technology colleges such as the IITs. The TU9 network includes global leading institutes – RWTH Aachen, TU Berlin, TU Braunschweig, TU Darmstadt, TU Dresden, Leibniz Universitat Hannover, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, TU Munchen and Universitat Stuttgart.

“Germany is a great place to study technology, especially automobile engineering, both at the undergraduate and master’s level,” says Mumbai-based education consultant Karan Gupta. Besides, unlike the UK, graduates and post-graduates from German universities can stay back in the country after completion of their academic courses. In a bid to attract talent from across the world, the German government has simplified entry and residence rules for highlyqualified workers.

In comparison, it is next to impossible to stay back and work in the UK after studying without job offers in hand. “Germany is indeed emerging as an attractive destination for Indian students because the country is strong in both economy and education. German universities are counted among the best in the world. The affordability factor also attracts Indian students to Germany. Major companies with strong European operations, in fact, prefer to hire students from German campuses rather that US or UK,” says Rohan Ganeriwala, co-founder & director, Collegify, an overseas education consultancy firm.

Ishani Duttagupta

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