Student mobility and employability will be on the agenda of a high-profile delegation of university vice-chancellors and chief executives from around 20 leading UK institutions during their visit to India from Monday.
The delegation is being hosted by the British Council – the UK government’s international organisation for educational and cultural exchange – as part of the higher education focused bilateral programme UK-India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI).
It will cover a wide range of subjects, including internationalisation of higher education institutions and research collaborations during nearly week-long talks in New Delhi and Hyderabad.
“Education and research cooperation is an important pillar of our bilateral relationship, and strengthening and diversifying links with India is a priority for UK universities,” said Vivienne Stern, Director of Universities UK International (UUKi) – the UK’s university representative body.
“UUKi is delighted to have recently launched a call for applications for the UKIERI Study in India programme, which will support up to 200 UK students to study in India by March 2021. Through our visit, we hope to identify such new opportunities for the two-way exchange of staff and students, as well as collaborative research,” she said.
The Union Budget 2019 and recommendations as part of the Draft National Education Policy (NEP) will form the basis of discussions, with a focus on the Indian government’s drive on higher education and the reforms required to future-proof graduates produced by the education system. Against the backdrop of the NEP 2019, the UK delegation will meet government bodies and university leaders in India to discuss current and future policies and identify areas of mutual interest. There will also be a high-level policy dialogue focusing on how British and Indian institutions can work together to ensure that graduates are equipped for a changing world of employability.
Tom Birtwistle, Director North, British Council India, said: “Education is a key strand of the India-UK relationship; and the upcoming delegation visit will aim to further strengthen exchange between the Indian and UK higher education sectors.
“The British Council is committed to enable this relationship further by driving collaborative opportunities between education institutes on research, internationalisation approaches and mobility of students and academics,” he said.
“The visit comes at an interesting time; the proposals for higher education raised in the Draft National Education Policy will give the delegation much to talk about on potential collaborations with their counterparts and policy makers in India,” he said.
The UKIERI programme is a long-term commitment between India and the UK for joint work in the field of higher education and research. It is structured around two-way cooperation and exchange of ideas between stakeholders from both countries.
Later in September, senior leadership teams from the London School of Economics and University of Leeds will also be visiting India to identify opportunities for collaboration.