Express press service
KOCHI: Have you heard of a country called Curaçao? Nope? Well, this island country in the Lesser Antilles in the southern Caribbean Sea and the Dutch Caribbean region, about 65 km north of the Venezuelan coast, has carved itself a place on the map of educational destinations for students. from Kerala. Not only Curacao, but many other lesser-known countries are slowly becoming preferred destinations for higher education for Kerala students. This trend was brought to light when Norka-Roots launched its student ID card services following the Covid pandemic in 2020.
According to an official, since the start of enrollment of Kerala students studying in various universities in foreign countries, Norka-Roots has received 1,607 applications for student cards. The service was launched in the aftermath of the pandemic which saw a large number of students in the state find themselves stranded in countries around the world.
According to the latest statistics, Ukraine with 322 students leads the ranking of the most favored countries for study abroad from Kerala, followed by China with 244 and Canada with 174. However, the statistics do not give not the actual numbers.
The numbers are even higher, said Riyas, who runs an education consultancy in Kochi. “My consulting firm alone has tied up with overseas universities for over 5,000 courses. There are many such educational consultants operating in the state, so the number of students can only be guessed at. who are studying in other countries,” he said. “At present, we are submitting a list of students to the Indian Embassy in that particular country,” he added. .
According to a Norka official, student ID card services started after the pandemic hit the ground. “But once we started getting data on students studying abroad, we realized just how big the numbers were. Once a database of the number of students going abroad for studies is created, we will be able to identify the migration pattern,” he said.
“Data collection revealed another interesting fact about student migration patterns. Until now we thought that students only go to a fixed number of countries like UK, USA, Canada, China, Russia or some European countries. However, by analyzing the course destinations indicated in the ID card applications, we have found that Malayali students are studying in countries that have never been considered education hubs,” the Norka official said. .
Mexico, Iceland, Vietnam and Kyrgyzstan are other destinations attracting Malayali students, according to data published by Norka. The attraction? Low fee structure and exposure to new cultures. His consulting firm recently enrolled eight students at a university in Barbados in the Caribbean islands. “The other countries that entered the list this year are Slovenia and Slovakia. Students are even applying to Vietnamese universities,” he added.
“There are several reasons,” said Devanarayanan Namboothiri, an MBBS student at a university in Sumi in Ukraine. He said: “The most important factor is the fees. Compared to the UK, USA, Canada and European countries like France and Germany, the fees in the Balkan countries and also in the countries of the former Soviet Union are very low. Another reason students migrate to other countries for studies is to experience a different culture, he added. “Besides, the inability to get a seat even after passing India entrance exams is another factor,” he said.
Riyas pointed out that Kyrgyzstan has the lowest fee structure for MBBS. “A student can complete their MBBS course in just Rs 20 lakh unlike in UK, USA or Canada where the cost incurred for a single academic year is around Rs 38 lakh,” he said. . Even Bangladesh is finding plenty of takers, Riyas said. The migration of students to foreign countries does not only occur for MBBS courses. “Nursing, MBA and other courses are also taken by students in foreign countries,” the Norka official said.