Germany tops higher education survey by British Council

Last Updated: Thu, Mar 17, 2011 11:30 hrs

According to a British Council survey, Germany comes first in an international league table of higher education, ahead of Australia, the United Kingdom and China.

The ranking compares the higher education systems in twelve countries regarding access, quality and reputation of

degrees, support for foreign students and encouraging their own academics to study and do research abroad.

The British Council presented the survey at the Going Global education conference in Hong Kong on March 10.

Germany scores in particular thanks to its internationalisation strategy, which actively

promotes mobility in both directions, also through funding.

According to the British Council, the UK's international organisation for education and culture, German higher education institutions have become significantly more attractive for foreign students over the last

few years. One reason for this is that more and more courses and even entire degree programmes are being run in English.

Germany's popularity as a preferred higher education destination for students in the South Asia region has grown rapidly in the last few years. Notably, the number of doctoral students from India has increased ten-fold within the last decade.

This places India second in the tally of top countries of origin of international doctoral students in Germany.

Ram Shankar, a German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) scholar pursuing his Ph.D from Universitat Bielefeld, described his experience of studying in Germany as a highly competitive and enriching.

Furthermore, in Germany, overseas students do not pay any more in tuition fees than home students.

Universities in many parts of Germany do not charge any tuition fees, which means in those places overseas students

do not pay any fees at all. The survey also refers positively to legislation allowing for students to work in Germany.

Vikas Shabadi, an Indian doctoral student at TU Darmstadt, describes life in Germany as relatively easy.

At the end of a hectic weekday, he looks forward to theeekends with vibrant festivals in the city centres that have plenty of music, food and wine.

Many German universities actively promote themselves in the region, and especially in India, through regular participation in education fairs.

The South Asia Institute (SAI) of Heidelberg University, Freieniversitat (FU) Berlin and Uni-Goettingen have liaison offices in the region.

German universities have also entered into cooperationgreements with Indian universities. Apart from this, many universities also launch India-specific initiatives like scholarships to attract Indian students.

FU Berlin, which has been part of this internationalisation project, anticipates that a third of its students could be from overseas in the future.

Herbert Grieshop, managing director of the university's Centreor International Co-operation says, "We think that global problems need global cooperation for research. And for our students it brings the sensibilities and the competencies they need in a globalised world market."

According to the University of Delhi, the number of studentsnd scientists from South Asia has increased by nearly 30 percent in the last few years.

The majority are doctoral students, while some are at the university temporarily through the European Union's Erasmus Mundus programmes.

At the same time, Germans are the most mobile students throughout Europe. There are more students from Germany studying abroad than any other European country and it wants half of its students to spend at least a term abroad.

Reacting to Germany winning the top spot, DAAD General Secretary Dr. Dorothea Raland said Germany's top position in the ranking is a well-deserved achievement of our higher education institutions. (ANI)



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