The recent decade has seen a surge in international education for Indian and Chinese students who travel to Europe to study in the world of art and fashion design. More than any other country, China has recognized the importance of the fashion industry and the opportunities the market presents for skilled fashion designers and stylists, a continuing trend which Chinese industry analysts predict will be an ever-growing boom in continuing decades, more than engineering, mathematics or technology.
After China and the US, India is the country with the largest number of students who travel to study overseas in the fashion industry. In Europe, there are indeed a plenty of fashion courses like those organised by Istituto Marangoni offering quality education in every single field of the fashion industry. As the biggest economy in the world, the opportunities for students from China to travel and study abroad have surpassed India, which continues to show a drastic rise in population growth and continued levels of poverty. With 600 universities and 34,000 colleges attended by over 17 million students and 5 million graduates every year, India has one of the biggest education infrastructures in the world, but it lacks the capacity to support the rising demographics, which indicate that in the next decade alone 100 Million students will be seeking higher education.
Statistics show that the number of Chinese students enrolling in art, design and fashion courses in the UK has increased over 150 % over the past 5 years. This is in large part due to the support and sponsorship of several prominent UK universities, international institutions, and professional industry organizations, all of which have provided excellent career opportunities for graduates and entry-level job seekers.
These institutions are important resources that may help Indian students regain a foothold in international education, and provide global networking opportunities to offset the problems caused by other factors presenting significant impediments for Indian students; these include the rising cost of fees for international students, government restrictions on part-time work during study and on post-study work, visa restrictions and lack of scholarships that since 2010 have led to a 25% reduction in the enrolment of Indian students in the UK. The depreciation of India’s Rupee has been another major blow to the advance of study abroad programs for India. While in India there is also the rising middle-class component, comprising well-to-do families who have the financial means to enable them to send their sons and daughters to study in Europe or the US, unfortunately they are a small sector in the demographics, while most Indian students are forced to seek financial aid.
But China is the strongest economy, and furthermore most students are supported by their families – thus they do not feel the need for work-study programs. So we see the need to develop a closer kinship between Indian universities and UK educational institutions, international professional arts and fashion institutes, and with UK investors in India that can help give a boost to India’s study abroad programs by forming a closer kinship with Indian universities. Government institutions must recognize the growing need for financial aid and scholarships in areas other than technology, IT or engineering, and give the same scholarships for international education in the growing fields of fashion, art and design. India should also follow China’s example and focus on upgrading its educational infrastructure; since starting with Project 211 and Project 985 China has invested $250 Billion a year with the aim of making their universities and Ivy league colleges world-class level in the 21st Century, thus increasing the potential for Chinese students who seek to study abroad in the best certified educational institutes.