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India Announces Willingness for International Cooperation

clock iconCreated At:26 September, 2023
write iconCreated By:Hagar Samir

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"The recent regulatory changes in India have caused a “major platform for collaboration between countries”. This was said to UK universities by the Indian government as it joined a trade mission this week.

Neeta Prasad, joint secretary at India’s Ministry of Education, spoke at the British Council’s India-UK higher education conference in New Delhi, saying that the country’s educational ecosystem has “undergone a massive transformation” and that this transformation has been going on for over three years and "that transformation is still going on”. 

In hopes of strengthening the education and internationalism of their education sector, India has tried several regulatory forms. This was a goal to be achieved that was set out in the country’s 2020 National Education Policy. 

“We have rapid changes in the policies that allow us to collaborate with foreign institutions,” Prasad said. 

She also added, “The University Grants Commission has brought out guidelines for joint, dual, and twinning degrees, which will allow students to do partial semesters in different countries. We have revised our credit frameworks to make it more flexible, to make it more aligned to the global best practices.”

In addition, India has signed a memorandum of understanding with the UK as a way to acknowledge each other’s qualifications and achievements. The details of the memorandum are currently under negotiation.

The director of education at the British Council, Maddalaine Ansell, stated that this has “removed a fundamental barrier” between the two countries, especially in the educational world. 

Both India and the United Kingdom are currently in negotiations regarding the terms of a free trade agreement. This is set out in the 2030 map to make their relationship with each other much stronger. 

Alison Barrett, India director at the British Council, mentioned that there is a “perfect storm of demand and opportunity” in India and the UK right now, in addition to an “enabling environment that will help make everything happen.”

“It means that there’s political will within both systems to really ensure that the collaborations are deep and meaningful and sustained over a long time frame,” she stated. 

There was a conference that took place at the British Council’s offices in New Delhi; it was organised to keep up with the transnational education trade mission done by the UK government’s Department for Business and Trade. 

The conference had over 25 representatives from the British university sector who met with Indian institutions. This happened this week as a way to discuss what potential partnerships could take place that would create stronger links between the countries. 

Sir Steve Smith, the UK’s international education champion, said, “With India’s National Education Plan and the UK government’s International Education Strategy, the direction of travel is the same as we both look to greater internationalisation of our sectors”.

The pro-vice-chancellor for international students at Oxford Brookes University, Lucy Mazdon, stated that there is “enormous potential” but also a “significant amount of challenge” regarding the TNE links between the UK and India. 

“I think the opportunities now with the changes in the regulatory environment in India and so on are really exciting and also very complex.

“I think in the UK we are relatively risk-averse because of the increasing regulatory environment in our own country. For me, this is really an opportunity to try and get a much better understanding of what the opportunities might be, how to navigate some of those challenges, and yes, certainly with the slightly longer-term hope that we might be able to develop some really sustainable and meaningful partnerships in India.” She added. 

83 UK institutions gave TNE in India in 2021/22, and 13 of those institutions had almost 100 newly enrolled students that year, according to an analysis by Times Higher Education Consultancy. 

Growth, however, has been mainly because of one UK institution, which had more than 6,000 TNE enrollments. 

“Higher enrolments is a positive thing, but it hasn’t been diversified across the UK sector,” said Ishan Cader, director of consultancy at The Consultancy. 

“If you look behind the data, a lot of institutes and UK universities in India have either remained the same or come down slightly or experienced just minimal growth. There is a lot of space for growth,” he added. 

Richard Follett, vice president and deputy vice chancellor for global engagement at the University of Exeter, said, “Why we’re here is to cement our partnerships and that commitment from British universities towards creating a living bridge with Indian organisations and Indian universities to ensure that we can develop, in a kind of mutually beneficial way, our research and education partnerships.” 


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