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Germany set to overtake UK as top European study spot, report predicts

Within the next five years, Germany could overtake the UK as Europe’s most popular study destination, in part driven by growing demand in India– now the fastest growing international student source country.

Indian enrolments to Germany increased by 24% while they fell 10% in the UK

This is the prediction laid out in the latest market research report from Delhi-based M.M. Advisory which looked at Germany’s annual 6.6% increase in students from around the world over the last three years. Last year international student enrolments reached 321,000, just under 75% of international students in the UK.

“Based on the past three years’ momentum, and the smart initiatives being rolled out to attract students, we are projecting that Germany will overtake the UK and become the international education leader in Europe in the next five years,” the report states.

“From the Indian perspective, we have seen a change in Germany as an education destination ever since the announcement [to end tuition fees]”

Contributing to Germany’s rising profile as a study destination is the announcement made last year to annull tuition fees for international students.

“Of course it is too early to see the announcement directly translate into numbers but you can see that the numbers for Germany have increased substantially,” said Maria Mathai, director of M.M. Advisory.

“From the Indian perspective, we have seen a change in Germany as an education destination ever since the announcement.”

Using figures compiled from the leading study destinations globally, the  report solidifies India’s position as the fastest growing international student source country. Outbound Indian students increased by 17.8% in 2015 compared to China’s 13.9% growth.

Bolstering its claim that Germany will become Europe’s leading study destination, the report shows 2015 Indian enrolments in the country increased more than the the national average, 24%, meaning it overtook Russia as a top study destination.

Meanwhile, Indian enrolments to the UK fell by 10% last year.

In addition to little or no tuition fees, Germany’s post-study work offer and long-term cultural programmes have established its position in the Indian market.

“Indian students are driven by employment and immigration so I would say the majority of the outbound Indian student traffic are attracted to, apart from the education option, future employment and future immigration options.”

She also credits Germany’s popularity to programmes carried out by the German academic exchange service, DAAD, to increase German language teaching in secondary schools across India and facilitate two-way secondary school exchanges.

Germany is also attracting a growing number of undergraduate students, a nascent trend in India that has traditionally been a market for postgraduate courses.

Marking the trend was a 30% increase in undergraduate students going to the US last year, the first time since 2009 and only the third time in the last decade.

Still, with the much larger pool of postgraduate enrolments increasing by 39%, the country isn’t set to convert to an undergraduate market anytime soon.

But, Mathai does say increased purchasing power and ever-lacking quality in university programmes at home will only add to the increase in interest for undergraduate courses.

“Indian students are driven by employment and immigration”

“The situation in India is so desperate that they’re [the government] actually relieved, there are just not enough quality education institutions in India to handle the number of students graduating from secondary schools,” charged  Mathai.

“No politician will come out and say that they are encouraging outbound enrolment but nobody is going to discourage it either.”

The traditional study destinations continue to attract nearly 85% of Indian students; Canada alone had the largest compounded annual growth rate over the past 10 years out of Australia, the US, the UK and New Zealand: 7.1%.

However, Germany’s position on the price-value scale will make it an increasingly popular destination for the growing cohort of outward looking Indian students.

“There is no doubt in the Indian market that the US remains the top destination but the US is also one of the most expensive destinations,” she said. “Students who are looking at Germany are the ones who wouldn’t be able to afford education in other mainly English speaking destination countries.”

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