Why France remains the best destination for Indian Students amid the COVID crisis

I strongly believe that this is the perfect time for students to invest in higher education with the global economy staring at recession in its face

The global pandemic has not been able to deter Indian students from their pursuit of higher education in international universities as would the quick transition from campus-based learning to e-learning practices suggest.

Though student mobility in the emerging situation is likely to change and as European countries and USA try to trace their feet back to normalcy, global universities have learnt to adapt to the dynamic situation, fully aware that sooner than later, students would flock back to the campuses while the current scenario demands that they stay on course with an evolved online learning process as well as coping mechanism.

The Ministry of External Affairs statistics put the number of Indians studying abroad at over 7.5 lakh in 2018 and latest studies show that the global health crisis notwithstanding, majority of those who had planned higher education abroad would want to continue because international universities have been expeditious in enhancing healthy safety frameworks for students while putting in place stronger support systems and incentives at the same time.

According to a study by Leverage Edu, a leading edu-tech platform, at least 76 percent students initially said they planned to continue with their education abroad for the September and January dates. When they were informed of the contingency plans created by global educational institutions, the number jumped to 91 percent.

In Europe, France remains among the top destinations for Indian students because of the sheer quality of education, infrastructure, safety as well as multi-faceted cultural life the country presents

What is more encouraging is that more than 70 percent students repose their faith in international healthcare systems. The latest Indian Students Mobility Report 2020 by QS-I.GAUAGE says Indian students are very particular about education when they opt to study overseas. For them, factors like employability, reputation as well as university life merit more attention.

In Europe, France remains among the top destinations for Indian students because of the sheer quality of education, infrastructure, safety as well as multi-faceted cultural life the country presents. It is turning the global health crisis into opportunities and is fully geared to usher in the academic year for new students through virtual classrooms.

Image: Pixabay

It has also announced augmentation of the proportion of scholarships for the academic year by 50 percent which translates to Rs 10 crore (1.3 million US dollars). The scholarships will be awarded regardless of whether a student starts the semester in India or France, the French embassy has said.

That France has been a leader in extending support to foreign students’ community through visas and scholarships amid the pandemic crisis comes as a confidence booster for Indian students who continue to be greeted by the country.

A triple accredited B-School, emlyon business school was among the first international institutions in France to respond to the coronavirus pandemic with establishment of a Covid19 Task Force to address three key concerns – Security, Continuity and Quality. Health safety of students, faculties and stakeholders across the campuses was top on the checklist and the school acted rather swiftly by putting in place social distancing protocols.

Image: Pixabay

That said, the B-School never lost sight of the emerging scenario which necessitated continuity of academic process for the students. Moving 100 percent of its classes online was the first step towards creating an uninterrupted learning platform. It received a big vote of confidence from 98 percent students who were satisfied with the quality of learning materials and pedagogy.

The global VUCA situation taking a toll on the mental health of the students, the school also released and emergency fund of 200,000 K€ (the biggest amount by any B-School in France) to help students cope with the new financial burden; and the wellness center launched e few years ago geared up as part of the school’s commitment to a holistic growth and development of its stakeholders.

The question is, should the virus petrify us or electrify us? This is exactly the time to learn and develop skills for a new future

In India, emlyon business school also launched a special “Care, Share and Dare” webinar series, to reach out to students planning for admissions this academic season and address their concerns. The COVID 19 pandemic has resulted in a complex situation for everyone. The students who are about to begin their courses are looking for answers regarding the protocols to be followed and how things will shape up in the coming weeks and months.

The question is, should the virus petrify us or electrify us? This is exactly the time to learn and develop skills for a new future. This crisis has turned every business model of the past on its head and has propelled us towards a more digitized future.

I strongly believe that this is the perfect time for students to invest in higher education with the global economy staring at recession in its face.

As of now the intake, in September, is very much on the table and we are helping with clarifications about visa and travel. We want to offer the best student experience at any given time. We are closely monitoring the evolution with flexibility is at the core of the process. 

Depending on the programs, options range from temporary online classes, Glocal phygital pre-intakes, January in-person classes or 2021 deferment. We do not want to add additional stress to an already uncertain situation; we are in this together.

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