According to figures released Monday, enrolments grew 19% in 2011-12 to nearly 6,000, up from 5,000 in 2010-11. However, viewed since 2008 the increase is more than 70%.
Ms Christiane Schlottmann, DAAD’s director, said: “Many students are seeking new destinations in Europe and even Asia itself, and various factors like stringent visa rules, lack of employment opportunities after graduation and social threats in the traditionally popular destinations affect this trend.”
Setting Germany apart is a new right to residence law, which makes it easier for foreign students, scientists and researchers to gain permanent residency in Germany after graduation by holding the new Blue Card residence permit.
Improved post-study and part-time work rights have also helped at a time when Europe’s number one study destination, the UK, has reigned in concessions.
DAAD added that Germany’s universities offered state of the art facilities and low or no fees (capped at around €500 a term), and that many scholarships were available. “About 15-to-20 per cent of Indian students in Germany receive funding every year,” said a spokesperson. “In the year 2010, DAAD granted 1,300 scholarships to Indians for realising their academic pursuits in Germany.”
“For South Asian students, the biggest hurdle to finding a job in Germany is their inability to speak German”
India is now Germany’s 11th most important source market and second for postgraduates. Y Sudhakaraiah, CEO and director of Indian agency Edu Channel, told The PIE News he was recommending Germany in light of the UK’s new visa rules, even though the commission was lower.
“In view of the declining student numbers to UK from India due to the new visa regulations, we have been directing students to Germany,” he said.
“We charge a nominal consultancy fee for the services provided in helping students with the admission process in German universities, since they do not have a policy of working with overseas education consultants on commissionable basis.”
However, Germany still faces barriers to the Asian market. A survey of 6,200 international students across Europe’s top five study destinations found that in Germany 39.4% had experienced some form of discrimination – second highest after France.
They also complained of poor information about post-study opportunities and language barriers. “For South Asian students, the biggest hurdle to finding a job in Germany is their inability to speak German,” a 25 year-old Indian male studying engineering said in the survey. “Since the Goethe Institut in their home country does not have sufficient capacity, students are often not able to learn the language before their departure from home.”
That said, Germany now offers 600 masters programmes taught in English, second highest in Europe after Holland, and is even pioneering real-time translation technology to attract non-anglophones.
A British Council study in 2010 also found Germany to have the most internationalised higher education of any country. “Germany scores high on accessibility, support for foreign students, quality and reputation of degrees worldwide, and the extent of mobility of university academics to study and do research abroad,” said a DAAD spokesperson.