The UK is losing out on Indian students as they are choosing the US institutions over those in Britain, according to a new study which also said Nigeria will soon replace India as the second-largest source of foreign post-graduates in the country.
The UK will host 241,000 post-graduate international students by 2024, allowing it to remain one of the top two destinations for studying post-graduation abroad after the US, according to a study by British Council.
Indians form the second-largest source of international post-graduates in Britain so far after the Chinese but the UK is failing to steer more Indians away from the US, which remains the most popular destination for higher studies.
China is the largest source of international post graduations students. Researchers, however, warn the UK is too dependent on China for its international numbers, and that it is losing out on Indian students.
Nigeria, which currently has the third-highest segment of foreign post-grads in the UK will soon move up to second place.
“Demographic changes mean India’s appetite for higher education is expanding quickly and providing a source of international post-grad students that the US is exploiting,” the research said.
According to a ‘Guardian’ report, more than half (54 per cent) of international students from the US are from India while China accounts for 33 per cent of the students in the US.
“No single market should drive the growth and composition of a country’s incoming post-graduate body,” Zainab Malik, director of research for British Council education intelligence, said.
“As such, it is essential for institutions and policy-makers to continue attracting students from expanding economies besides China and India, including Nigeria, Indonesia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam,” she added.
The study forecasts that the annual growth rate of the UK’s international post-graduate numbers will dip over the next 10 years, falling 4.1 per cent during the period 2007-12 to 3.5 per cent between 2013-24.
Most recent Office of National Statistics (ONS) figures had reported that the number of overseas students coming to study in the UK from Commonwealth countries such as India and Pakistan had fallen from 100,000 to 35,000 in the past three years.
The number of Indian students fell from 18,535 in 2010-11 to 13,250 in 2011-12 and further to 10,235 in 2012-13.
Although a large proportion of international students is still expected to come from China, the number of postgraduate students elsewhere who are looking to study overseas is increasing rapidly.
The growth rate of internationally mobile post-graduate students is especially high in Nigeria (+8.3 per cent) India (+7. 5 per cent), Indonesia (+7. 2 per cent), Pakistan (+6.4 per cent) and Saudi Arabia (+5.2 per cent) and these will be the markets to watch in the coming decade.