Student migration tied to quality of education, lack of hands-on training opportunities and dearth in job prospects: study

The Kerala Academy of Sciences survey also found outdated curriculum to have influenced students’ choices

February 28, 2024 09:39 pm | Updated 11:06 pm IST - THIRUVANANTHAPURAM

Discontentment with the quality of higher education, the lack of experiential learning and infrastructure facilities, and scarce placement opportunities in the State have led three-fourths of emigrant Keralite students to pursue education elsewhere, a survey undertaken by the Kerala Academy of Sciences (KAS) has found.

There is also a general disinclination and reluctance among an almost-similar proportion (72%) to return to their home state for want of job prospects and attractive salary packages.

The survey report titled ‘Student Exodus in Kerala – What Students Convey’ was released by Digital University Kerala Vice-Chancellor Saji Gopinath, who handed it over to M. Chandra Dathan, Mentor (Science) to the Chief Minister, during the National Science Day observance held here on Wednesday.

The study assessed data submitted by 608 students pursuing higher education outside Kerala from September last to January. The participants predominantly belonged to the age group 21 to 30. Nearly 50% of the participants were pursuing post graduation in Science or doctoral-level courses.

A lion’s share of the surveyees (447) were located in other States, while the others have migrated abroad. While 32% of those students in other States pursued higher education in Karnataka, there were also sizable numbers of Tamil Nadu (18%) and New Delhi (17%). Among the respondents who migrated to 25 countries, 29% has chosen the United Kingdom as their preferred destination, followed by Canada (19%) and Germany (18%). Students have also migrated to countries as diverse as the Netherlands, China, Russia, Azerbaijan, Chile, Australia, Japan, South Korea and Saudi Arabia.

Among the reasons stated for leaving the State, a majority also cited their desire to explore and pursue greater exposure and improved educational opportunities elsewhere as causative factors. Besides, the lack of job opportunities and unsatisfying learning conditions, the participants also cited the absence of globally ranked institutions, outdated curriculum, and unbridled campus politics as other drawbacks of higher education in Kerala.

The principal investigators surmise many students were appreciative of the education systems outside Kerala owing to better research facility and fund availability, teaching quality, scholarships, academic freedom and the propensity to encourage out-of-the-box ideas.

The report will be submitted to the Chief Minister and the Higher Education Minister, KAS president and former advisor of the Kerala Biotechnology Commission G.M. Nair said.

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