November 22nd, 2011
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The lure of foreign education

education fair

Special story/ Vivek Prasad

Chennai: Some of Chennai’s top hotels seem to have latched on to a lucrative business – Education fairs. These fairs boast that they are bringing the best universities from around the world under one roof in a bid to urge students to consider the option of pursuing higher education abroad.

All you have to do is walk into one of these glitzy fairs and you end up getting special treatment. Even before you utter a word about your marks or speak about your area of specialisation, a comprehensive admission form of a ‘top class’ university is thrust into your hand. The lissome lady with a cunning smile asks you to fill it up and presto, you are on board! “Our representative will visit your home and he’ll complete the rest of the process for you. Welcome to x and y University!,” she chirps, with a wry smile.

Whatever happened to your yearning for that local state university, you might think. And if you’d like to think a little more, you might find it rather strange that a ‘world class’ university is so keen to offer you admission in your doorstep.The agents who promise to take you to the country and college of your choice should make you wary. “We are representatives of various top Institutions worldwide,” is the usual statement of an agent representing these education marts.

You might wonder at the usage of the term ‘mart’. But do not worry. These are indeed marts. The only thing that interests these education hawks is the moolah you are willing to cough up. As Stephen says, “I ended up in California for my MBA through an agent in Delhi. I had to cough up Rs 16 lakh for admission. But it turned out that the university fees for Indian students was just Rs 12 lakh. The remaining Rs 4 lakh went into the pockets of the agents. I was also shocked to learn the MBA programme had been newly initiated and that there was no placement cell whatsoever.”

Says Gurumurthy,an assistant professor at Chennai’s Guru Nanak College, “Some foreign universities are into the business of duping Indian students by encouraging agents in metros to offer admissions on their behalf. But students should not fall into such traps.”

He gives the following tips to keep off the dangers

» Use social networking sites and other forums to find out about the foreign college of your choice

» The fees for regular students and foreign students always differs. Do your homework and don’t end up getting cheated

» Don’t ignore the scholarship factor


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