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With rising incomes, tier 2 & 3 cities now driving demand for international education | India News – Times of India

LONDON: Young and ambitious Indians from bustling tier 2 and 3 towns and cities are at the forefront of India’s swelling demand for overseas education, a new report has found.
Rising incomes in places such as Surat, Ludhiana, Ajmer and Darjeeling, combined with what some students say is lack of high-quality education in India, are fuelling demand to study overseas, according to “Aspiration Nation”, a report produced by Mumbai creative agency Magenta and UK-based Indigo CPO.
According to the report, many tier 3 and 2 city Indians emigrating are from the south or west India whilst demand for international education is lower in northern and central states. “In some parts of the country a new car will be a priority,” the report said.
Akshay Chaturvedi, chief executive of Leverage Edu, said: “In 2023, we received two applications from small towns for every application from tier 1 cities.”
These students are attracted by high-quality education, interdisciplinary degrees, better career opportunities and earning potential, as well as the firm belief an overseas education will lead to better social status, the report said, stating “a foreign degree is a marker of social progress. It is a status symbol. It may get them a better job or make them a more attractive prospect in the marriage market.”
The authors asked more than 46,000 people from a Reddit sub-group what motivates them to study abroad.
One said: “Indian colleges are archaic in their approach and research is never promoted.”
“Eighty-two per cent of seats for medicine are reserved in Maharashtra. I’m one of the 18%,” said another.
“India has plenty of software jobs, but they lack meaningful innovation. Routine tasks and limited research make the work less satisfying,” another said.
Another said: “I wanted to study computational mechanics. In India, there are limited options. Now at Swansea University, I’m a teaching assistant for mechanical engineering students.”
In 2025, two million Indian students are expected to embark on overseas study, injecting £55 billion into the countries where they go. The report notes that whilst studying abroad was once seen as a ticket out of India, the country’s booming economy means there are now good reasons to move back.
Kishore Dattu, INSA UK general secretary, said: “There is increasing demand from tier 2 cities because of increased income and access to information, particularly in local languages. Indian education is not yet meeting the growing demand in India, so India is losing a huge amount in forex.” He warned the pull for Indian students going to the UK was very much tied up with the post-study work visa and, if that is tampered with, numbers will fall.

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