Singapore, however, is trying to position itself as the destination of choice for Indian students. The country wants Indian students to enrol in its institutes, from the higher secondary or the junior college level onwards.
Singapore is basing its pitch on its geographical proximity to India, professional education that provides excellent job opportunities, the business and trade environment of Singapore and its cosmopolitan culture.
The government of Singapore is promoting its various higher secondary colleges and institutions across Indian metros and other large cities. Over three years, the number of Indian students opting for studies in Singapore has surged. One of the reasons has been that more Indian families have been settling in Singapore.
A delegation of Singapore-based educational institutions visited India's educational hub Pune, recently. The group interacted with schools, colleges and a large number of students to promote Singapore as an education hub.
Speaking to Business Standard, Han Yee Joseph, associate director, ICS International, Singapore's leading college said: "Singapore is very near to India. Students can reach Indian within six hours. The cost of education and cost of living are at least 30 per cent less than in the UK or US. All this makes Singapore a very attractive destination for Indian students."
Last year, more than 800,000 international students registered themselves with various Singapore schools that provide education in a variety of streams like science, arts, management, tourism and hospitality, information technology and business development.
"Currently, only 4 per cent of overall international students in Singapore are from India, but the number is rising. In another three years, we expect to have more than 10 per cent of international students in Singapore coming from India," Joseph added.
Indian students studying in Singapore seem to be happy with the education standards. "Travelling to Singapore for education is easy comapred with the UK or US. Visa is a mere formality. My father was not keeping well when I opted for education abroad. The best option was Singapore as I could make frequent visits to my home," said Anant Parekh, a student from Pune, who is enroled in an under graduate management course in Singapore.
Like Anant, Chandrashekhar Khandke, a student from Mumbai is studying in Standard 12th in Singapore. "The syllabus structure and academic systems in Singapore are almost similar to the ones followed by Central Board for Secondary Education (CBSE) in India. Hence, Indian students easily adjust to studies in Singapore. After passing out of Std 12th, one can opt for a Bachelor's degree in vocational subjects like tourism development or hospitality management," Chandrashekar said.
Hyderabad-based Nita Joseph, who took an admission last year for Std 11 science stream, added, "Singapore is a nice city to live and study. The best aspect is, absence of racism, which still exists in European cities. I am enjoying studying here."
Tanglin Trust School, United World College of South East Asia, Singapore American School, Singapore International School and ICS International are some of the top schools in Singapore that are promoting higher-secondary education in South-East Asia and especially in India.
Indian educational establishments like Delhi Public ScAhool, Bhavan's Global Indian International School and SP Jain Institute of Management have also set up campuses in Singapore.
The cost of living and tuitions fees in Singapore are lower than in the UK or US. Rebecca Lim Wan Yee, western India Director, Singapore Tourism Board told Business Standard: "A students needs to spend around Rs 5 lakh for Std 11th and Std 12th studies in Singapore. The Singapore government provides excellent infrastructure and public administration services, which becomes an added advantage for international students. We offer unconditional visas making it simple for students to enter Singapore and enjoy studying," Rebecca claimed.