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UK govt looks to strengthen partnership with Indian varsities

On Monday, British Council’s India director, Alison Barrett, said that the UK is really excited about having talented young people from many countries around the world come to the UK…reports Asian Lite News

The UK will continue with its annual target of attracting at least 600,000 international students with a focus on bolstering collaboration with Indian universities by offering dual degrees and joint research programmes, British officials familiar with the development said on Monday.

India accounts for the second largest cohort of international students in the UK after China — with over 120,000 students being enrolled in 2022-23. The considerable overlap between India’s National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 and the UK government’s international education strategy could further strengthen these ties, said Steve Smith, the UK Government’s International Education Champion, on the sidelines of the inaugural session of the two-day India-UK Higher Education Conference in Delhi.

“It is my remit to grow the number of international students and there is no limit on the number of international students coming. I think there is a lot of noise at the moment. But the key point is the target remains at least 600,000 students a year to come to the UK. And we are meeting that and that’s not changed. So there’s a lot of noise about it. I do realize that but the UK government’s target remains the same,” he added.

The remarks come days after spokesperson for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak reportedly told media that Britain has no plans to change its approach to reducing net migration in order to help secure a free trade deal (FTA) with India. “The prime minister believes that the current levels of migration are too high … To be crystal clear, there are no plans to change our immigration policy to achieve this free trade agreement and that includes student visas,” the spokesperson told journalists on September 7, according to news agency Reuters.

On Monday, British Council’s India director, Alison Barrett, said that the UK is really excited about having talented young people from many countries around the world come to the UK.

“We are excited that they choose the UK as a destination. And, it is something that we want to continue encouraging,” she said.

The UK’s focus on India comes at a time when France has announced plans to welcome 30,000 Indian students by 2030 and Germany has also increased the intake of Indian students, with 2022-23 marking an increase of 26%.

The Conference is being organised as a part of the “Higher Education Mission 2023” under which the largest-ever delegation comprising 31 higher education representatives from the UK is on a five-day visit to India.

Smith said that the focus of the delegation is to deepen the already extensive relations between UK and Indian institutions. “This is the third such delegation and the largest ever and this time, we are focused on partnering UK institutions with Indian institutions. The future of education worldwide is moving more and more towards the international side, rather than just the bilateral. So what we’ve got here is a group of institutions, all of whom wish to link with fellow institutions in India.This trip is about deepening and it’s making it two way. It’s not about students coming to the UK, it is also about building partnerships here,” he said.

A total of 83 higher education institutions from the UK are already collaborating with their fellow institutions in India either in the form of offering dual under the University Grants Commission (UGC) 2022 regulations, or research collaborations.

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