Can’t go to American college? Turkey wants you – here’s what it can and can’t offer Indian students

New Delhi: For Indian students, the wait for UK and US visas has become endless. Their prospects of returning to China – which they had to leave because of the pandemic – and to Ukraine, which they fled because of the ongoing war, also remain uncertain.

The options for Indians to study abroad have therefore been greatly reduced. And it is in this uncertain time that Turkey is making its own attempt to emerge as a competitor in the higher education stakes.

Turkey, which has received a record number of Indian tourists this year, has 208 universities and 50,000 programs. In an interview with ThePrint, Turkey’s Ambassador to India, Fırat Sunel, said his country has around 2,65,000 international students, mostly from Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe and India. Central Asia.

“The number is quite low for Indian students – around 1,000,” Sunel told ThePrint, adding that the number had “slowly” increased over the past five years.

Sunel said medicine and information technology (IT) were the most popular programs among Indian students, but many also opted for specialized courses such as veterinary medicine, agricultural engineering, dentistry, physiotherapy and hotel management.

For students, the biggest benefits are cheap tuition fees—caused primarily by the drop in the lira — job opportunities in Europe and fast processing of student visas, say education consultants.

There are drawbacks, however, the most important being that Turkey has very few top universities. In 2018, higher education analyst Quacquarelli Symonds’ (QS) Higher Education System Strength Ranking placed the country’s higher education system at 43rd, just behind Egypt. India was ranked 26th.

“Turkish universities do not usually feature in the top QS World University Rankings of universities in the medical field,” said education consultant Dipendra Chaubey. “MBBS courses in Egypt have a better ranking.”

This is all the more important as estimates show that 20,000 to 25,000 Indian students go abroad to study medicine every year.

Read also: ‘NEET not an option’ – Medical students returning from Ukraine ask NMC for roadmap to resume classes

Low Tuition Fees, Low Global Rankings

The Turkish Lira has gone down over the past year, which means lower tuition fees.

Zeeshan Malik, a 32-year-old doctoral student at Ankara Yildirim Beyazit University from Uttar Pradesh, told ThePrint: “The tuition fees are not very high and because the pound is so low, they are even cheaper after currency conversion. . At present, 1 lira is equivalent to 4.4 rupees”.

On the other hand, the economic crisis in Turkey which led to the weakening of the lira also caused a spike in inflation – the country annual inflation rate hit nearly 80% in June, its highest level in about two decades. However, the Turkish envoy said it would not affect an Indian student’s way of life.

Then there is the problem of the low ranking of Turkish universities. Omair Anas, 41-year-old assistant professor of international relations at Ankara Yildirim Beyazit University, originally from New Delhi, said Indian medical students in particular should only consider Turkey if they plan to work in Europe after their studies.

India’s National Medical Commission does not recognize most MBBS courses from Turkey, he told ThePrint.

Sunel, however, argued that Turkish diplomas are recognized throughout Europe because Turkey is part of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) — a collaboration of 49 European countries in the field of higher education which aims to increase the mobility of staff and students and to facilitate employability, according to its objectives.

“Language barrier”

Another problem could be the language barrier, education consultants say. Although some institutions such as Ankara University and Middle East Technical University offer “parallel courses” – taught side by side in Turkish and English – most courses continue to be taught in Turkish.

“Many Turkish universities offer courses in Turkish and English,” Malik said. “Turkish is also quite easy to learn as it resembles Urdu and Hindi,” he said, adding that he wrote his master’s thesis in Turkish.

When asked if the English courses were more expensive than the Turkish ones, Sunel replied: “Lessons in English are relatively expensive but certainly cheaper than in the US or UK. We also have many public universities offering top-level English courses. Many universities, even public institutes, offer a one-year basic course to learn the Turkish language”.

(Edited by Uttara Ramaswamy)

Read also : ‘I haven’t even seen a corpse’ – despair grows for medical students as China won’t call them back

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