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China, India top list of students in OECD countries

September 08, 2010 10:27 IST

The largest numbers of international students to countries in the 33-nation Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) grouping are from China and India, with the highest number of Indian students choosing the US as their proffered destination for tertiary education.

India accounts for 6.8 per cent of all international students enrolled in OECD countries, while China's share is 17 per cent. In the US, almost half the students who come from India pursue tertiary education.

Almost 15.2 per cent of the international students enrolled in the US for tertiary education are from India. Similarly, 11.5 per cent of international students in Australia come from India.

These are the findings of the OECD's annual Education at a Glance study, which found in 2008 there were 2.6 million foreign students enrolled in these countries. The study noted international students are most numerous in tertiary enrollments in Australia, Austria, New Zealand, Switzerland and the UK.

"In a global economy, it is no longer improvement by national standards alone. The best performing education systems internationally provide the benchmark for success," said OECD Secretary-General Angel GurrĂ­a, launching the report in Paris.

During the economic downturn, young people with low levels of education were hard hit, with unemployment rates for those that had not completed high school rising by almost five percentage points in OECD countries between 2008 and 2009. For people with tertiary degrees, by contrast, the increase in unemployment levels during the same period was below two percentage points.

The report revealed the US gets the highest number of international students at 18.7 per cent, followed by the UK at 10 per cent and Germany at 7.3 per cent.

Referring to the growth of internationalisation of tertiary education, the report showed that in 1975, there were o.8 million students enrolled outside their country of citizenship and the number rose to 2.9 million in 2005 and to 3.3 million in 2008.

BS Reporter in New Delhi