Coconut Generation

The Next Generation of Asian Indians

Coconuts returning to India for schooling September 24, 2007

Filed under: Family,India,Youth — Sam George @ 3:03 pm

Last weekend, I met a family who send their 15-year old son to India for his high school education. In fact, the parents were not very keen on this, but the young man had made up his mind on an International school in Bangalore where his grandparents also live. Is this one-off case or a growing trend?

We all have heard of foreign born young people being send to India for medical and professional schools. We know of business and software folks returning to India to expand or start new ventures in the booming economy. But what about elementary or high school kids going to India for a worldclass eduaction?

When I researched it further, I found  this is definitely something to watch out for. It’s fuelled by the growing perception among NRIs that school education in India is culturally enriching, academically superior and economically easier on the wallet. In the last decade, there has been an exponential rise—estimated to quadruple—in the number of NRI students in Punjab. International school are limited to hill stations of Missourie or Ooty anymore, but are popping up in major metros like Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Cochin etc. See a report about schools for NRIs in India Today.

Is this an attempt to insulate foreign born wards from what they see as decadent western values? What about the prevalence of growing western values in India? How does it affect parent-children relationship, when children grow up in boarding schools? Will grandparents be thrust into raising their grandkids? What happens to assimilation or multiple culture shocks and adjustments? What does all this mean to families and youthworkers?

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One Response to “Coconuts returning to India for schooling”

  1. Joe Varghese Says:

    In 1987, our family moved back to India after I finished my 8th grade in the US. This is a little different than the scenario you explained, as I was never part of a boarding school. But, definitley have thoughts and views that would love to share.

    Just wanted to respond quickly, as one point that confuses me is why parents think that by sending their kids to International Schools and to cities like Bangalore they are sending them “home”. Today, Indian cities like Bangalore, Dehli, etc are more “American” than most US cities. The International schools in India have more problems than those in the public school as they have the same issues (sex, drugs, etc), but the kids are rich because of the valuation of the Rupee.

    I pray for happy endings, but without crucial parenting it really does become a crapshoot on how the kids will handle the temptations and difficulties in India.


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