Australian Lefty on Politics, Governance, Science and Info Management

Melbourne model, Mumbai model

Posted by Dave Bath on 2007-08-18

There have been significant rises in the cost of tertiary education, and we can expect more with wider adoption of the "Melbourne model" of requiring a first degree before starting a second degree for professions like medicine and law.

Add to this the high costs of living near Australian universities (or time and petrol if you don’t live nearby) and the low wages and lack of control for part-time jobs available to students, the obvious acceptability of asian graduates to the Australian professional workforce (why else do we need so many asian doctors with work visas), then another alternative may become attractive to parents: what I term the Mumbai model: living in asia (probably India) while completing tertiary studies.

  • Cost of living in India at current exchange rates is cheap.
  • Exposure to cultures likely to be significant trading partners might be useful
  • If you are doing engineering especially, there are more infrastructure projects going on in asia, so post-graduate experience is probably more useful.

It is also probable that Australians would make attractive part-time English tutors.

So, how long before parents wanting their little darlings to get a degree, currently paying for private-school education and then putting kids through uni decide instead to use the "Mumbai" model and educate their kids in asia?


4 Responses to “Melbourne model, Mumbai model”

  1. Except that Indian universities are generally terrible, which is why so many Indians study here and elsewhere around the world, and living standards not that great, which is why Indians migrate here. Higher education in Australia is still very cheap for those capable of entering the professional workforce, so I doubt anyone will try to compete on price. Indeed, the reverse is more likely – state regulation has largely restricted Australian universities to the discount end of the market, so affluent families may went to buy a better product abroad.

  2. I come from the poorer end of town. I obtained my education by joining the military, who after a few years of service offered to put me through uni in order to get me to sign on for few more years. This seems to be a common way of moving up in society for the less well off since the time of the Romans where you could be a land owner after 20 years of service. I believe people of my ilk would take up study in cheaper nations like India. Admittedly, these people are declining in number as Australia gets richer, but there’s still plenty out there who would have to incur the full HECS debt and to which India would appear to be the better choice.

  3. Guy said

    A friend had the terrible experience of studying and achieiving very well academically in India, and then coming here to find her qualifications and academic record were not recognised by a lot of folks. I think the subcontinent has a little way to go before they would be capable of competing in terms of quality.

  4. Dave Bath said

    I don’t think it will happen just yet. But I /do/ think it’s only a matter of time.

    It’s worth noting that many programmers of my vintage are far from impressed with the IT graduates coming out of Australian unis these days: the business model seems to be to force refresher courses every few years to learn which buttons to press in the latest generation of software rather than learn fundamentals so you can cope with new developments. At least Indians tend to have a good grasp of maths (although nowhere near as good as Russians).

    Good example: computer science graduate from Monash who had never heard of “state space” and the basic principle that you should minimize it.

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