- However, 29 per cent of Indian students and 35 per cent of Pakistani students who have applied to study overseas are likely to cancel their plans or already have done so;
- India ranks as the third largest source of international students in the UK;
- The survey follows similar research in China where 39 per cent of students were unsure whether they would keep or cancel their plans to study overseas.
Half of young people in India and Pakistan who have applied to study overseas say they are ‘not at all likely’ to change their plans.
The survey of 1493 students in both countries found 39 per cent of respondents in India and 28 per cent in Pakistan had already applied to study at university in the UK. Another 22 per cent and 27 per cent, respectively, plan to apply to study this year.
Of those who have already applied to study abroad, a large portion of respondents (43 per cent in India and 39 per cent in Pakistan) said that they are ‘not at all likely’ to change their plans.
From 2015 to 2019, annual UK study visa issuance rose by 229 per cent in India and 66 per cent in Pakistan. India now ranks as the third largest source of international students in the UK. Universities had been expecting even sharper growth in enrolments from South Asia this year with the introduction of the Graduate Route, which offers students the option of up to two years of post-study work in the UK.
The findings are part of a series of polls being carried out by the British Council’s International Education Services to inform higher education institutions in the UK about student attitudes to studying overseas during the Covid-19 outbreak.
International students are worth £20bn to the UK economy, according to a 2018 report from the Higher Education Policy Institute.
Last week a poll found 39 per cent of Chinese students were undecided about cancelling their plans to study. While China is by far the largest student recruitment market UK, enrolments from South Asia have climbed rapidly in recent years.
Report author Matt Durnin, Global Head of Insights & Consultancy for British Council International Education Services, said: “It is encouraging to see positive sentiments in our major South Asian markets, particularly after our earlier survey in China showed widespread uncertainty about study plans.
“Yet it’s worth noting that Indian and Pakistani respondents shared many of the same concerns as their Chinese counterparts, particularly around health, personal safety and finances. The financial concerns in particular could still lead to a surge in the number of students deferring offers until next year.”
The proportion of young people who have applied to study overseas is significantly lower in Pakistan (28 per cent) and India (39 per cent) when compared with China (72 per cent), but reflects a trend for applicants from these countries to apply later in the year.
Roughly a quarter of Pakistani (27 per cent) and a fifth of Indian (22 per cent) respondents are still planning to apply to study overseas and only 15 per cent of Pakistani and 12 per cent of Indian say they are unsure of their plans.
The UK and Canada are the two most popular destinations to study overseas from the two countries.
The survey also found a significant number of young people said they were “very concerned” about their health and well-being and personal safety when thinking about studying overseas, but the figures were much lower than those of China.
On the other hand, students from India and Pakistan were more troubled by financial problems with 57 per cent of Indian and 61 per cent of Pakistani students saying they are “very concerned” about finances compared to 40 per cent in China.
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