Children’s Day is a good time to remember that the quest for education is a fundamental right of all children, as enshrined in the Constitution. Among the biggest of financial goals of Indian parents is to ensure that their children have access to quality education.
According to the WEF-Varkey Foundation report (1), Indian parents spend the most number of hours helping their children study, at 12 hours a week, as against the global average of 6.7 hours. The study was conducted among 27,500 parents across 29 countries. These statistics hold a mirror to the level of parents’ involvement in their children’s education.
A recent report entitled Value of Education (2) says that 44 per cent of Indian parents want their children to study abroad. Also, 61 per cent of parents surveyed wished they had started saving earlier to fund their child’s studies abroad, and 35 per cent are worried that they don’t have the resources to fund their child’s studies. These numbers highlight the importance of steady and long-term investment plans, such as Unit-Linked Investment Plans (ULIPs) that allow a nice mix of both equity and debt funds.
The number of Indian students pursuing a higher education abroad stands at over 7.5 lakh, according to a Ministry of External Affairs answer to a question posed in the Rajya Sabha in 2018 (3). Also, Reserve Bank of India data from 2018 (4) says spending on hostel and tuition fees by Indian students overseas has increased by 44 per cent from 2013-14 to $2.8 billion last year. The parents who have made prudent investment plans are clearly the ones who have managed to send their children to a foreign university of their choice.
If you are one such parent and want your child to study abroad at some point in the future, consider ULIPs, available on Finserv MARKETS. Regularly investing even in a small way ensures that you don’t have to borrow heavily when the time is ripe for your child to apply for a foreign university. The best part of a ULIP is that you get two benefits in one plan — there is insurance and investment.
So, in the likelihood of your child choosing a foreign university in Canada, the UK or US, you are ready with the ideal ULIP child plan.
In fact, RBI data suggests that these three countries continue to top the list of preferred countries. But in recent times, students are flocking to EU nations and Australia as well.
So, why do students seek education abroad?
The reasons for this quest for higher education abroad are many. The field of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics or STEM continues to attract students from India. World-class universities often partner with well-known firms or industry bodies to ensure the curriculum empowers them for ‘jobs of the future’ where artificial intelligence, automation and data analytics will rule.
Medicine is a much sought-after field as well. A reply to an RTI query in October last year, reported widely in the Indian media (5), shows that students who had applied for an eligibility certificate from the Medical Council of India to study overseas had nearly grown two-fold in 2017-18 from the previous year, to a little over 18,000. Reasons are many — the intense competition in India, higher quality of teaching and curriculum, affordability, residency at some of the best hospitals, and opportunities for growth.
Another reason why Indian students want to study abroad is the number of interdisciplinary courses available. India still doesn’t offer too many offbeat or interdisciplinary courses, compared to the West. In many European countries and the US, there are options to choose from a range of unconventional courses. Conflict studies, ecotechnology, water resources engineering, and mechatronics, for example, are offered in Europe. These courses prepare students for a future in which new roles and job profiles will replace the old ones.
There is currently a gap between the demands of the market and curriculum in Indian colleges. According to the Deloitte Deans Survey in 2019 (6), a mere 28 percent of deans surveyed in India say students are ready for employment.
The opportunity to settle abroad is an attractive proposition for Indian students, who expect a better quality of life there. Emphasis on research, critical thinking, high-quality and creative teaching methods, apart from the quality of teachers are all attractive for Indian students. Foreign colleges are also known to offer a good balance between ensuring students are job-prepared and also acquire some deep knowledge and learning.
It is prudent to make investment plans when your children are young so you can support their higher education abroad . Opt for a ULIP child plan, available on Finserv MARKETS, and avail tax benefits under 80C and 80CCC of the IT Act. You won’t have to shell out taxes when you switch funds or when the plan matures. Choosing a child plan also means liquidity; you can withdraw your funds after the five-year lock-in period without having to pay any charges. Also, choosing ULIPs on Finserv MARKETS ensures returns as high as 25 per cent over a five-year period of investment, which is why they are also some of the top-rated funds. There is also the added advantage of choosing between four investment portfolio strategies, ensuring high returns for your plan.
So, what are you waiting for? This Children’s Day, plan ahead and fulfill your child’s dreams and allow them to fly high with a solid investment plan!
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