by Assad Bhuglah

Higher education is an investment in the future. A good degree is a stepping stone to higher earnings. But there is growing concern that the soaring cost of higher education is putting it out of reach for many families around the world.

As the economic recession continues, the top three destinations for interantional students, namely the US, the UK and Australia, are all experiencing budget cuts and are shifting the financial burdens on foreign students. The costs of higher education has risen dramatically in the universities of the West to such an extent that students in Quebec took the streets to protest against tuition hike. It is reported that tuition fees in England have risen almost seven-fold over the last decade. As from September 2012 most British Universities are expected to treble annual tuition fees to a maximum of £9000. This spirallying cost will drive many people out from attending universities.

Generally, the Universities charge according to the perceived earning power the course bestows. Strategically important subjects such as medicine, engineering, chemistry and physics – which are vital for the social and economic success of a country and offer lucrative career, are marketed at higher cost. Those students who cannot afford to enrol for such subjects often opt for professional programmes like chartered accountancy, which are recognised the world over and which allow a relatively easy fee-payment schedule compared to unversity education.

Amid the rising cost of higher education, students have the tendency to choose comparatively cheaper options that provide internationally recognised degrees. Even British students, in quite increasing number, are travelling abroad to attend university.

In the wake of spiralling costs of higher educaiton in the West coupled with stringent immigration rules, students from develpoing countries, including Mauritius, have to turn more and more towards low-cost destinations that can provide affordable and high-quality education. There is now a growing predilection for universities in China, India, Pakistan, Malaysia, Egypt and Turkey which offer attractive packages, conducive socio-cultural environment and simpler visa facilities to overseas students. Some of the universities have partnered with top foreign higher educational institutions in order to enhance the quality of education and the brand of the degrees awarded.

As an important step towards opening the opportunities for international education, many developing countries have concluded bilateral agreements among themselves in order to facilitate the University admission of their students and also to mutually recognise the certificates and degrees conferred by their respective universities and institutions. In this regard, Mauritius has signed a number of cultural and technical agreements with a number of countries including China, India, Pakistan, Malaysia, Egypt and Turkey. The value of education is partly what it costs, but also what it delivers.

Generally, the Universities charge according to the perceived earning power the course bestows. Strategically important subjects such as medicine, engineering, chemistry and physics – which are vital for the social and economic success of a country and offer lucrative career, are marketed at higher cost. Those students who cannot afford to enrol for such subjects often opt for professional programmes like chartered accountancy, which are recognised the world over and which allow a relatively easy fee-payment schedule compared to unversity education.

Amid the rising cost of higher education, students have the tendency to choose comparatively cheaper options that provide internationally recognised degrees. Even British students, in quite increasing number, are travelling abroad to attend university.

In the wake of spiralling costs of higher educaiton in the West coupled with stringent immigration rules, students from develpoing countries, including Mauritius, have to turn more and more towards low-cost destinations that can provide affordable and high-quality education. There is now a growing predilection for universities in China, India, Pakistan, Malaysia, Egypt and Turkey which offer attractive packages, conducive socio-cultural environment and simpler visa facilities to overseas students. Some of the universities have partnered with top foreign higher educational institutions in order to enhance the quality of education and the brand of the degrees awarded.

As an important step towards opening the opportunities for international education, many developing countries have concluded bilateral agreements among themselves in order to facilitate the University admission of their students and also to mutually recognise the certificates and degrees conferred by their respective universities and institutions. In this regard, Mauritius has signed a number of cultural and technical agreements with a number of countries including China, India, Pakistan, Malaysia, Egypt and Turkey. The value of education is partly what it costs, but also what it delivers.