Student migration a dangerous trend, says UDF; Left govt terms it global phenomenon

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Thiruvananthapuram, Jul 11 (PTI) The Congress-led UDF opposition on Thursday said in the state assembly that the increasing student migration from Kerala was a dangerous trend which if not addressed, would result in the southern state becoming the home of elderly people.

The Left government, however, brushed it aside, saying it was a global phenomenon that was not confined to Kerala alone.

The issue was raised by the UDF while seeking adjournment of the House proceedings to discuss the matter, permission for which was denied by the Speaker after the state government said that student migrations were a normal trend and an outcome of globalisation.

Following the denial of permission for the motion to adjourn the House, the opposition staged a walkout, alleging that the government and the state higher education minister were "in denial mode" and not acknowledging the danger posed by student migration.

State Higher Education Minister R Bindu claimed that student migration was a "global phenomenon" following globalisation and was not confined to Kerala alone.

"Kerala is one of the states where student migration is very low," Bindu said, adding that students go abroad as they can work there while studying and also because of relaxed visa norms in countries with a smaller population.

To address the issue, the state government has initiated various 'earn while you learn' projects, she said.

The government was also considering framing laws to regulate agencies which recruit students to go abroad by luring them with false promises, the minister added.

Bindu also claimed that the higher education in the state was one of the best in the country which was evident from the high grades received by universities and colleges in Kerala at the national level. "Therefore, there was no need to discuss the issue in the House," the minister said.

Disagreeing with the minister's claims, Congress MLA Mathew Kuzhalnadan, who was one of the legislators who moved the adjournment notice, said that youngsters were leaving Kerala as they have not been provided a proper socio-economic environment to survive in the state.

Kuzhalnadan said that one of the major reasons for it was the "stagnant economic growth" in the state as compared to its neighbours.

He contended that the reason for the lack of economic growth was the "ideological stubbornness" in the state, which was leading to FDIs and other investment and job opportunities flowing to the neighbouring states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu.

Kuzhalnadan also pointed out that urban unemployment was the highest in Kerala.

"For all these reasons, youngsters in Kerala are socially, economically, and politically frustrated, and they want to escape from here. That is why they migrate abroad," he claimed.

While Kuzhalnadan's claims were refuted by Bindu as being contrary to the actual situation, he was backed by the Leader of Opposition in the state assembly, V D Satheesan, who said that student migration was "unregulated" and a matter of immense concern.

Satheesan said that the opposition was not against students going abroad for higher studies.

"But that is not what is happening. Many of them are going there by spending huge amounts to escape from here. They do jobs there which they will not do here," he said.

The opposition leader said that when people go to the Gulf nations for work, Kerala gets remittances from them, and then those people come back to the state and start some business here.

"But these students go abroad after spending huge amounts and then settle down there. So, there is no remittance, and they do not come back. The state, therefore, loses money as well as the cream of our population," he further said.

Satheesan said it needed to be examined why more and more students were going abroad, whether they were being cheated, whether they were studying in good institutions, etc.

"We thought the government would take it seriously. Unfortunately, the government and the minister are in denial mode. In protest against the same, we are staging a walkout," he said. PTI HMP HMP KH