A majority of Kerala youths who prefer popular destinations, including UK, Canada, Germany, USA, and Australia, to migrate for studies are from families earning less than Rs 5 lakh annually.Despite financial challenges, migration is feasible for many, largely owing to accessible bank loans and travel agency services, according to a study report by the Centre for Public Policy Research (CPPR).

The statistics show that the financial situation of a significant portion of migrants indicates that they do not come from financially well-off families.”With regard to their financial backgrounds, people often assume overseas education is for the wealthy, but the survey data shows otherwise. A notable 60 per cent of these students hail from families earning less than Rs five lakh annually,” it said.A significant shift has recently occurred in the migration of Kerala students, characterised by a notable increase in Kerala’s youth heading to various nations for higher education.The majority of them aspire to seek education and career opportunities abroad.The trend of gravitating towards foreign education and migration is further substantiated by notable events, such as a travel agency in Kochi facilitating visas for 7,236 students heading to Canada in a single intake in July 2023.

Many students see education as a way to migrate, and financial barriers are not a significant issue due to available loans and travel agency support. However, post-migration life brings challenges like cultural adaptation and finding appropriate job opportunities.From the study we undertook, a diverse spectrum of student migrants becomes apparent. These range from individuals aspiring to secure positions at top-tier universities to those opting for shorter courses focusing on obtaining permanent residency.It is noteworthy that 59 per cent of the respondents in the study are aged between 23 and 25, predominantly originating from central Kerala.Under the methodical approach of snowball sampling, the survey delves deep into the socio-economic and academic backgrounds of the respondents.It further seeks to understand their present situations and the circumstances that led them there, while also probing into their future aspirations and considerations. This comprehensive survey offers a panoramic view of the many facets of student migration.

The 2018 Kerala Migration Survey reported women’s participation in migration at 15.8 per cent. Yet, in the study, females represented 32 per cent of the respondents, aligning with data showing nearly half of over 7200 students securing Canadian visas from one facilitator being female. Therefore, the findings suggest that more women from Kerala are pursuing overseas education.The study also showcased the distribution of migrant students predominantly between general and other backward caste (OBC) categories, with the representation of both Scheduled Castes (SC/ST) and Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) being minimal.The low migration trends of students hailing from the SC/ST category are also supported by the Kerala Migration Survey, illuminating that at present, youth migrating for education is still dominated more by youth from general and OBC categories.The study found diversity among migrants based on their academic and financial backgrounds. It revealed that 38 per cent of student migrants scored below 75 per cent in their previous degree course.

(The News was published on United News of India and HT Syndication)

Views expressed by the author are personal and need not reflect or represent the views of the Centre for Public Policy Research.

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