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After Punjab’s Doaba, craze to settle abroad grips Majha youth

Migration to foreign countries has become a status symbol in some villages. These men simply move away to Canada as students or temporary workers in search of a better life.

punjab Updated: Jul 08, 2018 13:27 IST
Jahnavi Vaid
Jahnavi Vaid
Hindustan Times, Amritsar
Punjab,Doaba,Majha
The ‘outbound student mobility’ has risen significantly which has expanded the ‘study abroad’ market in the city. (HT File)

After the Doaba region of Punjab, the craze to settle abroad through study visa has grown tremendously among the youth of Majha also and a sharp increase has been witnessed in number of IELTS coaching centres and outlets of visa consultants in Amritsar.

The ‘outbound student mobility’ has risen significantly which has expanded the ‘study abroad’ market in the city. Hoardings and banners of IELTS (International English Language Testing System) centres and consultant agencies dot every nook and corner of the city.

The district shopping complex, the largest commercial site in the city, seems to be a market of IELTS coaching centres. The great rush of the students is enough to tell the inclination of the young generation which finds its future in these coaching centres.

“My elder son has been living in Australia for the past 15 years ago. We get to see him once every four years, but he is happy there. Sometimes it hurts but at least he has a secure future there. Now my younger son will be going to Canada to study,” said 76-year-old Gurpal Singh.

Like Gurpal, there are many parents in the city who are left behind alone, longing to see their children who have immigrated to foreign countries as students.

An owner of an IELTS coaching institute here said, “Earlier students would go abroad to pursue postgraduate degrees but now even Class 12 pass-outs prefer studying in foreign universities. Fewer job opportunities in India and the difficulty in getting admission in the top institutes are the major reasons for the growing trend of studying abroad. Students are also fascinated by the modern lifestyle in other countries.”

“My father is a farmer here. I don’t want to take up farming. I want to study business at Humber College in Canada and settle there. What will I do if I stay here?” said 20-year-old Puneet Dhillon from Tarn Taran, who like many youngsters in the region aspires to settle abroad.

According to a majority of students, the foreign education system is more flexible. “Foreign universities have a very flexible degree system. Due to the weekly system in the universities, students can take up part-time jobs and earn and study simultaneously”, said Manjot Kaur, who wants to study in Canada.

Nirmaan Arora, director of an overseas education consultation agency, said, “Canada and Australia have been the leading destinations for students from Punjab this year. The number of students keen to study in Canada has increased substantially because of the country’s friendly visa policy.”

‘75% from agricultural families’

He said, “About 75% of our clients are from agricultural families of the villages around Amritsar. Most of these families have relatives abroad and are happy to send their sons away. Migration to foreign countries has become a status symbol in some villages. These men simply move away to Canada as students or temporary workers in search of a better life.”

Despite the fact the IELTS coaching institutes charge huge money, parents happily pay for the coaching because they want their children to secure good bands and go abroad.

First Published: Jul 08, 2018 13:24 IST