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Research Title

The title selected for the present research work is “An Anthropological Analysis of the Rising Trends among Affluent Parents Desiring to have their Children Educated Abroad in the Attempt towards Upward Social Mobility in the Community”


A rising number of people from socio-cultural backgrounds that border on the indigenous or belong to the ethnic grouping that is not considered very progressive among a socially upward mobile set up in any country are opting to send their children abroad to join world class educational institutions to obtain the best education that can be had and they are willing to go to any lengths to be able to provide the same for their children (Blanden, Paul & Stephen 2005). This probably rooted in their desire to be able to train their children to learn the ability and skills to compete with the best brains in the world and stand on their own   (Lopreato & Hazelrigg, 1970). These parents have probably been to the rapid changes brought by technological advances in the world and how they have been practically left on the side lines while those who were better educated and better equipped raced on far ahead of them (Appadurai, 1996). The parents then decided to ameliorate this situation by providing for their children the best education that they could buy and they strove hard to do so (Macionis, 2010)

Research Aim and Objectives

The objective of the research work is to enquire into the trends that are increasingly becoming apparent among middle class and affluent parent cohorts to send their children for education abroad (Orsetta, and Åsa 2009). The reasons for doing so could be

  • -          the lack of adequate infrastructure and facilities for similar educational inputs within their own countries
  • -          Availability of better educational facilities, course curriculum and teaching faculty available in educational institutions abroad.
  • -          to ensure that the next generation is able to stand as equals with the rest of the world and
  • -          ensure that they have the requisite skills and learning to gain the knowledge levels respected in the world
  • -          ensure better job opportunities and their children could land some lucrative pay packages as compared to themselves
  • -          ensuring better facilities and privileges through better jobs for their children
  • -          a desire to rise socially in their community through the efforts of their children who would be able to land coveted jobs after studying abroad
  • -          Due to growth in status both social and fiscal, they could influence the policy making mechanisms in society and politics and change the coming times for the  local population (Appadurai, 1996).

These would probably be some of the considerations though more would be apparent only when a detailed study is taken up and primary and secondary data is collected to authenticate the research aims.

Research Questions

Some of the research questions that are poignantly relevant to the research work are:

  1. a)Why do most middle class or affluent parents desire to send their children abroad for education
  2. b)Are the educational institutions abroad better equipped to fulfill their learning needs
  3. c)Why are the institutions nearer home preferred
  4. d)What ails the educational system in house
  5. e)What is the placement situation regarding scholars coming from abroad
  6. f)What kind of remuneration is expected
  7. g)What is the maximum remuneration that anybody can obtain within the country in one’s chosen field
  8. h)What are the expectations of the students themselves
  9. i)What are the hardships suffered by the students studying abroad [if any]
  10. j)What are some of the hardships that parents have to suffer if they want to send their child abroad? (Zhang, Li. 2001).
  11. k)Are there any governmental or policy inputs available to help such children.
  12. l)Does the government recognize the drastic brain drain that is happening on such a large scale and is there going to be any forthcoming policy or measure to help mitigate these circumstances.
  13. m)What is the impact on the host country where the students are flocking to study. Are they facing any constraints?
  14. n)Is there any psycho-social impact of the changed environment and circumstances on the parents and the students? (Zhang, Li. 2001).
  15. o)How do we account for the many suicidal tendencies among students who are unable to cope up with the pressures on them of their parents, their peers and the very real pressure of accomplishing their courses besides the burden of repayment of large debts incurred on their behalf

These are some of the lead research questions being asked by the researcher to be able to investigate deeply into the mechanisms of social mobility and how it impacts upon the lives of two generations and may be even will have a lasting impression on the third, yet to come generation [Clark, 2010; Isaacs & Sawhill, 2008; Gorard, 2008; Goldthorpe, 1987; Grusky & Manwai, 2008].

Literature Review Analysis

“Parents encouraged their children to study abroad as part of a broader strategy of upward mobility. Many parents born before the 1970s thought that they themselves had little potential for upward mobility”, according to Vanessa L. Fong, (2011).  Literature on the subject is vast as the developing   nations of the world have had to work against the obstacles of socio-cultural and socio-economic as well as socio-political constraints to be able to attain any form of level of confidence in their lives (Appadurai, 1996). They had always been subjugated and constantly felt that they were lesser than the others who were probably higher born or more blessed or somehow placed higher in the social hierarchy. The challenges to these archaic systems were many and made by ordinary people who did not believe anybody was less than anybody else. Also there were in all epochs several thinkers and philosophers who always believed unstintingly in the equality of all men.

There is much documented evidence of the revolutions within the hearts and minds of men over the past centuries and they are testimony of man’s raging battle against himself to achieve equality in the eyes of his or her fellow beings  (Bledsoe, 1990; Appadurai, 1996; Altbach and Teichler, 2001; and Nancy, 2003).

There is a large body of literature on movements of human populations at different times during man’s history to seek a number of justifiable means to sustain their travels and travails from one part where they were residing to a totally newer part where they wanted to find something  (Appadurai, 1996; Bledsoe, 1990; Altbach and Teichler, 2001; and Nancy, 2003). The present trend is manifold because what they are really seeking is not the first port of call so to speak. It is merely an end to the means. The student has been cast away into the big world to seek knowledge and a set of skills that will equip him or her to create e a world of his or her own when they return qualified and knowledgeable (Zhang, Li. 2001). What will be the consequences when they do not return to their native land at all in one scenario? And in the other if all of them return then what will be the magnitude and strength of the competitions that will ensue. Are some of the social scientists studying the consequences of these movements already? Are there any formalized theories regarding the seeker and the finder who are probably both unprepared for the end result? It is towards attempting to obtain an answer to these and similar queries that the researcher wants to concentrate all faculties [(Clark, 2010), (Gorard, 2008), (Goldthorpe, 1987), (Grusky, & Manwai, 2008)].

Research Methodology

The research work for this study will be through primary and secondary data collection. The primary data will be collected through quantitative tools of empirical research like a questionnaire having open-ended and close ended questions for which some of the answers will be quantifiable data and the remaining would be qualitative data inputs.  The researcher will conduct in-depth interviews and will also be in a position to make observations on the socio-economic status of the parents and the salient features of commonality that they share besides the common thread that they are all desirous of sending their children abroad for higher studies.

Possible Information Source

The Education Department of a Municipality, the Educational institutions and also the visa offices or the ticketing services offices besides the banks could give information regarding the number of children or their parents who are approaching them for sending their children abroad  (Zhang, Li. 2001). The figures would give an idea of the trends in place. Whether there was a marked increase in the steady stream or even a decreasing number. Once the trends are established the costs and the actual expense of sending and maintaining  a child abroad can be arrived at and from there it is possible to see to what extent the parents are willing to go to send their children abroad.

The institutions where these students seek admission would be the richest resource for finding out the trends of subject choice as also the larger preference among the students to opt for either one of the several options available to them     (Isaacs, and Sawhill, 2008). There seems to be no dearth of data on the students on the net and thus it can easily for the secondary data source to determine the quantified results of some of the queries represented by the research questions.

The interviews of high school going children could be conducted through the help of close ended questionnaires where they may be asked to respond to a number of questions giving their mind and views on what they thought of the ongoing trends of the large number of students seeking admissions abroad (Isaacs, and Sawhill, 2008). Thus the tools of enquiry could be the questionnaire [both open and close ended questions featuring in almost equal proportion to give the respondent the ease of answering as per his or her genius].

Potential Difficulty

As the cost of living has gone up drastically in the past decades almost all expenses have virtually gone through the roof and almost doubled. Thus, the cost of sending a child off to a foreign educational institution could prove to be a most astronomically expensive issue. Even if the child is bright enough to earn some or the other type of scholarship there are almost always a large number of  cases competing for such scholarships. Thus, it becomes very difficult for the institutions to do full justice to all the applicants.  There are many deserving cases that have to be overlooked while some of the top ones are favored. There will always be many spillovers for the institutions to be able to sift out the ones who may really deserve the position      (Isaacs, and Sawhill, 2008).  The only route open then is for the parents to apply for educational loans from banks. These days this trend has also become apparent whereby the parents and the children agree to repay back the loan of a bank so that the child’s education abroad may be financed by the bank. Many a times the parents have been known to mortgage even their homes and other assets to able to provide such a chance for their child.

 Ethical Consideration

The   number of parents seeking various channels and methodologies of sending their children abroad seems to have increased drastically in the past decade. This has been instrumental because of the economic trends of the world or has been a sudden reflection of the changed global circumstances or is a manifestation of a larger exodus of humanity from one part of the world to the other is a global phenomenon that will baffle many a generation to come. It is essential that some scientific enquiry be conducted into the finding of the reasons and the pressing conditions that are bringing together such movements of humanity.

In the ancient world these movement of people from one destination to another were in search of food,   spices, untold wealth and even simply adventure. However, these recent trends are in the pursuit of a complex of desires and wishes that seem to have tied down the aspirations of not one or two but three or more generations. The informed choice of parents to send their children of high school level age to places far away seems to have given a whole new meaning to the contextualization of ‘going out to seek their fortune’. The students venturing out today are to be the successors of a new world order when they return all skilled and trained to take up the reigns of  their respective destinies and those of the people they will go on to represent.

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