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Sunday, June 04, 2006

Over 2.5 million students worldwide study overseas

According to a new UNESCO study, from the following article, 14% of the 2.5 million international students in the world are from China. That means about 350,000 Chinese are studying outside. That's a huge number.

South and West Asia is the origin of 194,000 mobile students, with two-thirds coming from India. That means only around 130,000 indians are studying in other countries.

New Delhi - Although China sends the greatest number of students abroad, tertiary students from sub-Saharan Africa are the most mobile in the world, according to a new UNESCO study.

The report tracks the flows of foreign or mobile students. Mobile students are defined as those who study in foreign countries where they are not permanent residents.

South and West Asia is the origin of 194,000 mobile students, with two-thirds coming from India, according to a report from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) titled ‘The Global Education Digest 2006′.

Between 1999 and 2004, the number of mobile students worldwide surged by 41 percent from 1.75 million to 2.5 million, according to the Digest.

‘This does not mean that more students are travelling. Rather it reflects the rapid expansion of higher education overall, with tertiary enrolments also increasing by about 40 percent during the same period,’ the Digest states.

‘What this report shows is that the real enthusiasm in tertiary education is coming from African, Arab and Chinese students. They are the driving force behind the internationalisation of higher education,’ says Hendrik van der Pol, UIS director.

China sends the greatest number of students abroad - 14 percent of the global total - primarily to the US, Japan and Britain.

‘In relative terms though, sub-Saharan African students are still the most mobile in the world. Several countries in the region have as many or more students abroad than at home. Most have no choice but to go abroad because of limited access to domestic universities or the poor quality of instruction,’ states the Digest.

Yet these sub-Saharan African students are rarely counted in national statistics.

‘The South and West Asia region’s outbound mobility ratio of just 1.3 percent is primarily due to the low ratio reported by India of 1.1 percent. It rises to 11 percent in Afghanistan and 5.0 percent in Nepal,’ states the Digest.

The Arab states have seen a steady rise in student mobility over the past five years and now accounts for seven percent of the global total.

Presenting the latest education statistics from primary to tertiary levels in more than 200 countries, the report points out that if one out of every 16 - or 5.6 percent of tertiary students from sub-Saharan Africa are studying overseas, at the other end of the scale only one out of every 250 North American students (0.4 percent) studies overseas, making this group the least mobile.

Six countries host 67 percent of the world’s mobile students: 23 percent study in the US, followed by Britain (12 percent), Germany (11 percent), France (10 percent), Australia (seven percent) and Japan (five percent).

The Digest also evaluates the extent to which the universities of these host countries can absorb more mobile students.

They already account for 17 percent of total tertiary enrolment in Australia, for example, and 13 percent in Britain. But this figure falls to two percent in Japan and the Russian Federation and three percent in the US and Canada.

The report shows that low- and middle-income countries are playing to catch up with North America and Western Europe in terms of tertiary enrolment, leading to some startling changes in the rankings of countries.

‘Mobile students from abroad account for more than seven percent of total enrolment in Bahrain, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Mali, Namibia, South Africa and Togo,’ the report states.

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