ICS Occasional Papers

Student Mobility for Higher Education: The Case of Indian Students Studying Medicine in China

The mobility of Indian students travelling abroad for higher education, has been on the rise since the early 2000s. The favoured destinations have been the US, Canada, Europe and Australia. However, in the last few years it has been observed that China is one of the top non-English speaking countries where Indians are going for higher education, mostly for undergraduate medical courses.

The study analyses the pull and push factors of Indian students travelling to China for an undergraduate course in medicine through in-depth interviews with students studying in these universities, faculty and government representatives. It attempts to understand – the students’ experiences and expectations; the structure of medical education, curriculum, pedagogy and teaching methods in China in comparison to India; specific challenges and barriers that they confront in China and on their return. The results show that the larger phenomenon is of commercialisation of medical education in both India and China that is fraught with challenges. There are several actors, governmental and non-governmental, involved in this process, which is largely market-driven and has implications for the future of the students who are pursuing medicine presently and those who will be pursuing medicine in the future. The study also gives policy recommendations to deal with the burgeoning numbers of Indian students pursuing medical education in China that has implications for medical education policies within higher education as well as for the quality of doctors produced.

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