Indian parents want to give their children wings to fly: HSBC study

An overwhelming majority of Indian parents want their children to pursue their post graduation overseas, with 93 percent of them even willing to spend more than they would in India, finds an HSBC study

Published: Aug 13, 2015

Life is not a template and neither is mine. Like several who have worked as journalists, I am a generalist in my over two decade experience across print, global news wires and dotcom firms. But there has been one underlying theme in each phase; life gave me the chance to observe and tell a story -- from early days tracking a securities scam to terror attacks and some of India's most significant court trials. Besides writing, I have jumped fences to become an entrepreneur, as an investment advisor -- and also taught the finer aspects of business journalism to young minds. At Forbes India, I also keep an eye on some of its proprietary specials like the Rich list, GenNext and Celebrity lists. An alumnus of Xavier Institute of Communications and H.R College of Commerce and Economics in Mumbai, I have worked for organisations such as Agence France-Presse, Business Standard, The Financial Express and The Times of India prior to this.

Indian parents want to give their children wings to fly: HSBC study
Image: Getty Images
In recent years, India and China have sent the most students overseas

An overwhelming 88 percent of Indian parents are willing to send their children overseas for post-graduate studies, according to a recent HSBC report titled ‘The value of education, Learning for life’. This is the highest percentage in the world followed by Turkey (83 percent) and Malaysia and China (82 percent each). Also, about 93 percent of Indian parents surveyed said they are open to paying more for their child’s education in an international university than in India.

As part of its study, HSBC interviewed 5,550 parents across 16 countries, with a minimum target of 300 in each country. Most of the interviews were conducted online while some were conducted face-to-face in the UAE between March and April this year. “Many parents recognise that it is more challenging than ever for the younger generation to compete in the job market and, hence, they are willing to help children boost their opportunities for success by funding overseas education,” says S Ramakrishnan, retail banking and wealth management head at HSBC India.

In recent years, India and China have sent the most number of students overseas. The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) estimates that 6.8 lakh Indian students went overseas for higher studies in the last couple of years. The dearth of quality education in India and rising competition for seats in local institutions are pushing Indians to study abroad. Assocham says, besides the US and UK, Indians are aspiring to go to newer study destinations such as Singapore, Germany, France, Italy, Denmark and Sweden.

Globally, medicine, business management and engineering are the most favoured subjects, the study revealed. For Indian parents, information technology (18 percent) is the preferred career choice (see chart). They are followed by those from the UAE and Indonesia (11 percent each). Medicine, too, was a popular field among parents from the UAE (33 percent) and Indonesia (31 percent). The study shows that 14 percent of Indian parents want their children to pursue a career in medicine.  

Australia has the lowest percentage of parents (52 percent) who are willing to send their children overseas for post-graduate studies. It is followed by Canada (53 percent) and the US (59 percent).

(This story appears in the 21 August, 2015 issue of Forbes India. You can buy our tablet version from To visit our Archives, click here.)

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