While Indian students rush abroad in droves hitting a six-year high of 7.5 lakh-plus in 2022, the country’s leading metros still have room for improvement to be more inviting for international students. Not a single Indian city has made it to the top 100 of the QS Best Student Cities survey that showcases the best urban destinations for international students.
Mumbai (118th) is India’s highest-ranked city, followed by Delhi (132nd), Bengaluru (147th) and Chennai (151-160) in the 11th edition of the Quacquarelli Symonds’ Best Student Cities survey.
One areas of concern for all Indian cities is the desirability indicator – which considers metrics related to quality of life, pollution index, safety, and the propensity of prospective students to select a city for their university experience — where no Indian city made it to the global top 100.
Mumbai emerged the most affordable Indian city for students, ranking 21st globally in this indicator. Its affordability is a key advantage that can attract more students seeking cost-effective study options. Also, Mumbai’s strong performance in the Employer Activity indicator demonstrates ample opportunities for graduates.
Delhi shines for the strong standing of its universities in the 2024 QS World University Rankings. Bengaluru stands out in the student voice indicator, which reflects the opinions of alumni, current students, and prospective students who wish to remain in Bengaluru after graduation.
Chennai shows promise in the Employer Activity indicator, being the next best Indian city after Mumbai.
“The dynamic vision of India’s NEP 2020 seeks to revolutionise higher education, focussing on the nation’s unique challenges and opportunities. To achieve its aspirations of attracting more international students, India must address the vital aspects of livability, elevating its cities’ appeal as study destinations and enhancing the overall living standards for all. The pursuit of sustainability and safety in Indian megacities, battling issues like pollution, calls for earnest efforts to create a more enticing environment for domestic and international students alike,” Ben Sowter, senior vice-president, QS, said in an email to ET.
“A shared concern for all Indian cities is the Desirability indicator, necessitating collective investment in infrastructure, environmental initiatives, safety, and the celebration of cultural experiences that captivate international students. This edition of the rankings reminds us of the importance of continuous improvement and collaboration in forging world-class educational hubs,” he added.
QS Best Student Cities survey compares 160 premier educational destinations, including 26 new entries. To be considered for inclusion, each city must have a population of 250,000-plus and house at least two universities featured in the most recent QS World University Rankings.
London reigns as the world’s best student city for the fifth consecutive time; Tokyo moves up to second place, followed by Seoul in third, Melbourne in fourth, while Munich slipped to fifth.
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