New Delhi: More than 9000 Indian students participated in interactive webinars with leading European universities to find out about opportunities and options in 2021 for higher education in the European Union Member States, as part of the fifth edition of the European Higher Education Virtual Fair India 2020 (EHEVF) held online from 25-27 November 2020.
The success of the Virtual Fair is a standing testimony of the interest amongst Indian students to pursue their higher education in Europe. The large participation from European universities also highlights the growing interest of these institutes to engage with Indian students. Over the last five years, the number of Indians studying in Europe has significantly increased, also thanks to the increased efforts and interests of the European Member States to host Indian students, as part of their overall partnership with India.
The series of webinars during the three-day programme, focussed on IT and Engineering, business & management, natural sciences & liberal arts and social sciences. Indian students expressed interest in all areas, valuing the combination of education and research in European higher education and the global exposure.
European Union Member States that participated in the EHEVF 2020 were: Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden.
On the concluding day of the EVEHF – India 2020, the Ambassador of the European Union to India, H.E. Mr. Ugo Astuto said, “Education is a cornerstone for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. The wealth and welfare of nations also depend on the quality of their higher education. The international mobility of students and researchers is an important component of this global endeavour.”
Besides opportunities at the level of the EU Member States, the European Union offers scholarships to Indian students allowing to obtain a master’s degree by visiting two or more Member States during the study period, which adds to the cultural diversity a student can gain from studying in Europe. On this, M. Adrian Veale, Policy Officer, Directorate-General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture, European Commission, Brussels reassured the students that while the current Erasmus+ scholarships programme was coming to an end in December 2020, a new scholarship programme will be launched for the next 7 years in the coming months by the European Union and continue to offer the famous Erasmus Mundus Scholarship to Indian students.
Sharing their experiences, the alumni shed light on the opportunities available under the European Erasmus+ programme and how to build a research career with actions under the EU Research and Innovation Programme. The participating universities and member states answered questions from students related to visa, scholarship and application opportunities to the European universities and job opportunities during and post- graduation.
Dr Surbhi Singh from the India Centre for Migration, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Government of India, welcomed the opportunity to participate in the virtual fair, allowing to create awareness on the opportunities for Indian students to go global and to Europe. To assist students, the MEA has launched a portal – Madad, for Indian students planning or studying abroad and also to address their grievances related to consular services offered by Indian Missions. Also, at EU level, a checklist providing guidance to Indian students to make the best-informed choice has been established.
Students keen to study at EU: survey
An online survey conducted amongst the attendees to understand the information needed during the course of the 3-day webinar threw up important insights into the mindset of the Indian students. Of the participating students, 85.8% acknowledged that the EHEVF 2020 webinars had increased their knowledge and interest in studying in the European Union. As many as 66% students were keen to apply to European higher education institutes (EHEIs) in the academic year 2021. About 31% of the students attributed the quality of education offered by EHEI’s as the main reason to want to go to Europe to study, while 26% felt that European universities gave the best global exposure. The survey further revealed that 56% of the students were interested in pursuing PG programmes, while 25% of the students wanted to go to Europe for Undergraduate studies. About 17% were interested in Research and Doctorate programmes. The preferred choice of subject to study in Europe was Engineering & Technology (38%), followed by Business & Management (26%). The keenness to know more about Erasmus+ and Erasmus Mundus scholarship was an overwhelming 88%!
With one-fifth of world’s universities and a quarter of the world’s students, Europe has the widest and most diverse range of high standard education and research. In fact, World University rankings demonstrate that in terms of quality, European universities are among the best in the World, with approximately half of the universities in international rankings from the EU. The main reason for influx of Indian students to Europe is due to the availability of large number of English courses, world-class education and research capacity in state-of-the-art facilities as well as good employment opportunities. This year, the EU Erasmus+ programme granted 134 Erasmus Mundus Scholarships to Indian students for a Master’s Degree in Europe, making India the top global recipient. This is a 40% increase in the Indian students receiving the Erasmus Mundus scholarship as compared to last year. Overall, about 6,000 Indian scholars have benefitted from the Erasmus+ programme since it opened to India in 2004. About 350 Indian Higher Education Institutes have joined the Erasmus+ programme.
Globally top-ranked institutes that participated in the virtual fair include University Bocconi (Italy), Wageningen University (Netherlands), Aarhus University (Denmark), Radboud University (Netherlands), Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin (Ireland), LUISS Guido Carli (Italy), Hanze University of Applied Sciences (Netherlands), University of Antwerp (Belgium), University Of Twente (Netherlands), Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Belgium), Hame University of Applied Sciences (Finland), Jacobs University (Germany), Tampere University (Finland), University College Cork, (Ireland), University of Tartu (Estonia), Aix-Marseille University (France), Politecnico di Milano (Italy), IMT Atlantique (France), Dublin City University (Ireland), and University of Cyprus (Cyprus), and many more.