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General Brief on Education

India and UK already have excellent bilateral programmes in education sector. The announcements made during Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi’s visit in November 2015, especially celebrating 2016 as the Year of Education, Science and Innovation, have given the required enthusiasm for engagement between the two countries.

Indian Students: The UK has traditionally been a favourite destination for international students. Management, computing, engineering, media studies, art and design are the preferred courses of the Indian students. The number of Indian students in the UK from 2009-10 to 2015-16 for higher Education, are as below:






2013- 14













Source: Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA)

Improvement in number of Indian Students coming to UK: The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show a 10% rise in Indian student numbers from the previous year, considered significant in the backdrop of a 50% drop in their numbers since 2010 due to closure of the old Tier 1 Post Study work route in 2012. Changes introduced by UK mean foreign students (non-EU) will only be able to remain in UK, if they get a graduate level job with a salary of at least 20,000/- (or the going rate for the job). The marginal increase is estimated to be at the postgraduate level, while the largest drop was for vocational courses.

The findings of the latest Home Office analysis of its exit checks program dated August 24, 2017: Indians, including students, have been found to have one of the highest compliance rates of non-EU citizens as they depart before the expiry of visas, casting doubt on claims that a large number of Indians abuse the UK visa system. 97% of the 330,127 Indian citizens who entered Britain during 2016-17 returned before the expiry of their visas.

The following bilateral mechanisms are in place for cooperation in the education sector:

A. UK-India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI):

A multi-stakeholder partnership programme supported by both Governments on the core principle of Mutuality of Benefit began in April 2006.

Since then, UKIERI has supported over 1000 UK-India partnerships in education and research and 25000 exchanges of academics, researchers, staff and students.

The UKIERI- III MoU was signed in April 2015 and came in to force from April 2016.

Brief on progress in 4 different Strands:

Strand 1: Leadership and Faculty Development

i. National school leadership programme for secondary principals in India implemented jointly with National College for Teaching and Leadership and National University of Educational Planning and Administration (NUEPA) in government schools in many states in India.

Through the program,

5000 school principals were trained by March 2016.

21 key research papers have been published.

ii. Further Education Leadership Development programme is on track to deliver training to 240 nominated senior staff and principals from polytechnics and vocational institutions across India.

iii. Higher Education Leadership Development - Discussions with MHRD and UGC are taking place to agree on the ToRs for programme implementation.

Strand 2: E-Partnership and Research Incubation

Innovation Partnerships strand focuses to enhance the capacity between universities and higher education institutions by promoting partnerships with focus on innovation.

The strand also assists registered PhD students and post-docs in India and the UK.

DST - UKIERI Research Partnerships:

For the 32 DST-UKIERI Research Proposals of 2016-17, grant is released to all UK institutes from UKIERI after signing of the contracts with UK institutional partners. Release of matching grants from DST to Indian Institutions is awaited.


Strand 3: Integration of Skills in Education

Aims to work in the 21 high growth sectors as identified by National Skills Development Corporation (NSDC) and bring systemic change through interventions at various levels of skills development and to facilitate partnerships in the area of curriculum development, training of trainers, quality assurance, certification, assessment and sector skills collaboration.

This strand also encourages industry partnerships with academic institutions with a special focus on SMEs.

44 Institutional Capacity Building skill partnerships have been supported.

11 Sector Skills Council collaborations have been funded.


Strand 4: Enhancing Mobility

Aims to foster mobility of students across India and the UK and to work on key areas like mutual recognition of qualifications and credit transferability.

The Generation UK – India programme:

Started by the British Council supporting outward mobility.

Aims to support up to 25,000 young people going to India from UK between 2015-2020 to gain exposure, experience and skills.

The programme has five strands – Teaching Assistants, Internships, cultural Immersion/Study placements, Think India and existing programmes, under which placements are being made.

(1000 TCS interns are to visit India by 2020 starting 2016. 285 UK students under the Study Placements programme have already obtained admissions across 11 courses hosted by 9 universities in India. Similarly, 158 Teaching Assistants were hosted by 75 schools across 19 states in India. Under the Think India Support, 12 students from Robert Gordon University visited India.)


India-UK Education Forum:

India-UK Education Forum holds regular meetings at Ministerial-level; the last Meeting was held in New Delhi in November 2014 and the seventh meeting is scheduled to be held in London in the near future. The Joint Statements signed by the two sides laid emphasis on strengthening of cooperation in school sector, further education and skills development, higher education, research and innovation and policy & reform challenges. The Seventh India-UK Education Forum will be held in London in the near future.

Joint Working Group on Education:

The 6th India-UK Education Forum Meeting held on 13th November, 2014 in New Delhi, decided to constitute a Joint Working Group consisting of officers from both sides to deliberate and work on modalities of future collaborations in education. The first meeting of the JWC on Education met on July 16, 2015. The decision to celebrate 2016 as the UK-India Year of Education, Science and Technology was the key outcome of the Meeting.

D. Scholarship Schemes:

There are 26 National Overseas Scholarship (NOS) students from Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment and 6 NOS students from Ministry of Tribal Affairs, who are studying in UK for PhD and MSc courses for 4 years and 1 year respectively. Based on the financial sanctions issued by these Ministries, Mission releases payments on account of tuition fees, maintenance allowance and other expenses. For 2016-17, Mission has confirmed the admission of one NOS awardee under the Disability category, Mr. Roshan Kumar Sahu who is pursuing DPhil in Pharmacology from Oxford University since October 2016.

ICCR offers two annual scholarship slots to meritorious nationals from the UK to pursue under-graduate, post-graduate, doctoral and other research courses in Indian Universities in general courses (except medicine and dentistry) under the Commonwealth Scholarship/Fellowship Plan.

ICCR has also introduced two short term scholarships to SOAS scholars under Commonwealth Scholarship scheme in 2016 to study in India. Mr. Nikheel Gorelay and Mr. Tingxi Ma are selected candidates for the above scheme.

Ministry of Human Resource Development administers award of Ms. Agatha Harrison Memorial Fellowship (one fellowship) instituted by GoI at St. Antony’s College, Oxford (U.K). The Fellowship is meant for scholars who have specialized in Modern Indian Studies in the subject fields of History, Economics and Political Science. At present, no candidate has been nominated by MHRD for this award.

Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan (CSFP): The Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the United Kingdom (CSC) manages the UK Government’s contribution to this plan. The CSC supports over 900 awards annually, funded by the Department for International Development, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, and the Scottish Government, in conjunction with UK universities. With a budget of around £25 million per annum, Commonwealth Scholarships are a major UK government scholarship scheme. India is offered 65 slots and the nominations are done by MHRD.

In 2017, 41 Scholarships and 1 Medical Fellowship were awarded to Indian citizens. There are a total of 194 Indian citizens who are registered as ‘on award’ under the CSFP for 2017/18 (including distance learning students, over a number of years as well).

B. Collaborations:

Cambridge Judge Business School has strong ties with India. Government of India had established Jawaharlal Nehru Professorship through a grant of £3.2 million to University of Cambridge.

Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Trust (JNMT) JNMT was founded in 1969 by Lord Mountbatten of Burma in memory of the first Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru. The initial endowment was provided by HM Treasury and is managed today by Cazenove Capital Management on behalf of the Governor. The High Commissioner of India is the ex-officio Governor of the Trust which also includes some of the prominent British and Indian academicians. The Trust has two objectives: (i) to give Indian scholars, the benefit of post-graduate studies (fully funded PhD courses) at Cambridge; and (ii) organize an annual memorial lecture by a speaker of international stature at King's India Institute.

Tagore Centre for Global Thought, King’s India Institute: It was established in the 150th anniversary year of Rabindranath Tagore’s birth, and formally inaugurated by Minister of Culture in April 2013. However, Ministry of Culture has ceased further financial assistance to the Centre as the three-year Agreement was over. Though the agreement was signed by Ministry of Culture committing a funding of £337,575 in three instalments in the ratio 40:30:30, only the first instalment amounting to £135,030 has been released.

Oxford India Centre for Sustainable Development (OICSD): Somerville College has established the Centre to educate, innovate and collaborate on India's leading role in global sustainable growth and development. Government of India providing seed money of Rs. 25 crores (GBP 3 million). Up to five fully-funded Oxford Indira Gandhi Graduate Scholarships, endowed in perpetuity, scholarships are available to Indian students at the Centre.

C. Recent Developments:

Introduction of the 100 Foot Journey Club, collaboration between High Commission of India and the London School of Economics (LSE) South Asia Centre: The Club hosts academic events and other activities of mutual interest. It aims to organize at least 6 events annually, including panel discussions, film screenings etc. either at LSE or India House/Nehru Centre.

Launch of Two Year Visa Pilot Scheme for Master’s students: The UK Home Office launched a Tier 4 new pilot visa scheme on July 25, 2016 for overseas students. Under this pilot visa scheme, those applying for a Masters degree course in select 4 high-profile universities (viz. Imperial College London, Oxford, Cambridge and Bath Universities) would be allowed to stay in the country for up to six months after completing their course to seek or find work under Tier 2 visa.

UK Master’s Degree–Qualification Recognition by AIU:

In India, two-year Master’s programmes are the norm. However, Master’s Degrees in the UK vary in their duration and structure as well as designation and they are typically one year (12 months rather than one academic year). In the ten-year period between 2004-2014, approximately 19,075 Indian students were registered for postgraduate education in the UK.

The Association of Indian Universities(AIU) which has the formal power to grant equivalence “for the purpose of higher education as well as employment in the country”, does not as a matter of policy recognized Master’s programmes of less than two years.

As a consequence, tens of thousands of Indian students that have completed one-year qualifications at UK institutions do not have their qualification recognized for the purpose of public sector employment or admission into further postgraduate study at Indian Higher education institutions. An Indian-UK Qualification Recognition Taskforce was established within the governance of UKIERI on this issue.

Prime Minister’s visit to the UK on 12-13 November 2015: During the visit of the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi to the UK on 12-13 November 2015, the following announcements relating to education were made:

2016 would be the UK-India year of Education, Research and Innovation. This will highlight the strengths of the bilateral relationship, drive further collaboration, including a range of digital technology enabled education and training initiatives, so that both countries create a new 21st century framework as partners in education, research and innovation partners, in the global context.

It was agreed to initiate virtual partnerships at the school level to enable young people of either country to experience the school system of the other country and develop an understanding of the culture, traditions and social and family systems.

The two Leaders welcomed UK’s plans for 25,000 UK students to go to India through the Generation UK-India programme by 2020, including 1000 UK interns with Tata Consultancy Services in India by 2020.

The two Prime Ministers also welcomed the 3rd phase of the UK India Education and Research Initiative.

The two Prime Ministers welcomed the commitment to achieving mutual recognition of UK and Indian qualifications.

UK PM’s visit to India in November 6-8, 2016: PM Theresa May during her visit to India in November 2016 discussed all aspects of India-UK relations including education and research.

The Prime Ministers noted that 2016 is the India-UK Year of Education, Research and Innovation.

Both prime ministers welcomed:

Further investment (£20m) in the UK-India Education Research Initiative (UKIERI) to 2021, creating 50 new partnerships in 2017.

First 35 UK faculties visiting India under GIAN programme and 198 new GREAT scholarships for Indian students to study at 40 UK universities.

Celebration of 2017 as the India-UK Year of Culture and have supported the activities and programmes being planned, for example 'Illuminating India' (then unnamed) exhibition of Indian Science in the Science Museum, and highlighting 400 years of Shakespeare.

New teaching materials to the Indian SWAYAM MOOC platform, developed in partnership by UK and Indian universities.

UK Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation Jo Johnson’s visit to India from November 1-2, 2017: UK Minister Jo Johnson met Indian Minister for Science and Innovation Dr Harsh Vardhan in New Delhi on November 1, 2017. They discussed stronger UK-India science and research collaborations.

During this trip, the UK Minister announced first ever winners of the Newton Prize 2017. Jo Johnson also announced India-specific Rutherford Fellowships that will be delivered by the British Museum, British Library and Natural History Museum as well as global Rutherford Fellowships through the British Academy.

 November 2017






Nov 27, 2017