ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Disquieting Facts of Student Migration


Migration has intrinsically been connected to Kerala’s development trajectory. Migration from Kerala to West Asia is the first kind, resulting from the Gulf boom due to the discovery of crude oil in the early 1970s. The second wave of migration happened in the early 1990s, particularly in search of a better standard of living, where many people went permanently to North America, Europe, and other industrialised nations. Kerala has been experiencing the third wave of migration now, where students are migrating to other parts of the world, particularly to the developed world, for education and to seek permanent residence abroad. A study by the Centre for Development Studies estimated that around 1.5 million people from Kerala were working or attending higher education overseas. The study also revealed that the United States (US) and the United Kingdom (UK) were the Kerala students’ preferred travel destinations. It is estimated that around 12% of graduates from Kerala’s universities continued their education abroad, in which the US, UK, Canada, and Australia are the favoured destinations. The Ministry of External Affairs reports that 30,948 students from Kerala travelled abroad in 2019. However, according to unofficial figures, more than 35,000 students from Kerala go to developed nations every year, and this figure is only rising. It can be observed that two out of three youngsters in Kerala wish to migrate abroad for a job and related activities.

Interestingly, students are now moving to unexpected places, including Mexico, Iceland, Vietnam, Kyrgyzstan, Barbados in the Caribbean Islands, Slovenia, and Slovakia, in addition to traditional educational hubs like the UK, the US, Canada, and New Zealand. The leading causes of leaving Kerala are outdated curricula, lack of skill formation, not getting suitable jobs, inadequate research conditions in higher educational institutions, and institutional-cum-infrastructural problems in higher education. The tuition cost is relatively high in a foreign university where a student must have at least `20 lakh available annually in the developed world. But in some other countries, such as the former Soviet Union and the Balkans, tuition costs are relatively low. More than that, student migration is one of the simplest ways to gain permanent residency or citizenship in developed nations.

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Updated On : 23rd Jan, 2023
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