(Image source from: Little India)
In the following three years, India could succeed China as the fastest-growing international student target market for foreign universities, according to a Dubai study.
According to a report in Khaleej Times on the market research on transnational student mobility and university trends, which was done by Dubai International Academic City (DIAC) and BMI Media, foreign universities see India growing faster than even China in sending students abroad for higher education. The study spoke to 104 universities in 41 countries, most of which were from the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and the United Arab Emirates.
"India and China have always been the leading market for international students coming to study here (Dubai). It could be due to different reasons - the visa process, the flexibility. We have a lot of Indian families that are living here, and their students are joining these universities, besides the ones that are coming from overseas," Khaleej Times cited Mohamed Abdullah, managing director of DIAC as saying.
The study had requested universities to rank their top five countries by transnational student numbers. While China appeared on top with 17 percent, India closely followed at 16.8 percent. Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan were at 5 percent, 4.9 percent, and 4.8 percent respectively.
Abdullah told the publication that with the recent visa policy changes, UAE will turn even more attractive for international students.
According to the publication, the UAE had recently announced that students that perform "exceptionally well" in UAE universities will be entitled to a 10-year residency visa whereas other students can obtain a five-year visa.
The UAE government as well said that students who have a dependent visa will be eligible for an extension, so they can find employment opportunities in the Emirates once they graduate.
"The universities can benefit from these kinds of policies the government is implementing," Abdullah told the publication.
About 14 percent of the universities that were surveyed reported a decline in international student numbers. Of this, 60 percent were American universities which said that due to current government policy, foreign students are no longer preferring American universities. However, the report said that international students still prefer studying in American universities.
On the other hand, Canadian universities have seen a resurgence in international students. Universities in the North American country have seen over 11 percent growth.
According to the report, the quality of education, and positive government policies have made Canada the fastest-growing major market for higher education.