Britain's University of Lincoln is establishing a presence in India with a Mumbai office to provide admission, visa and other assistance. Ieuan Owen, deputy vice-chancellor (international, marketing and communications), University of Lincoln and Pankaj Trivedi, director, Trivedi Study Abroad, Mumbai, spoke to HT Education about this move and more. Excerpts from an interview
When the application process is online, how will the India office help aspirants?
Ieuan Owen: It's about relationships. Generally a lot of international students don’t provide all the details that they should and sometimes there are valid reasons why certain details are missing. They can phone in for any help, but there’s no a personal experience. It’s for that personal relationship that we’ll have this office here.
Pankaj Trivedi: In India, students look for some hand-holding in the admission process.
Tell us about your training collaboration with Siemens and the BBC.
IO: We have a relationship with the BBC as staff members in our department of journalism include ex-BBC employees. Sometimes people from the BBC come to talk to our students. We use that network in training our students. All our students get placed in the BBC, regional networks and print media outlets.
Our association with the Siemens is about two years old. Siemens has its training centre embedded in the University of Lincoln. Siemens people will train its engineers from around the world and those trainers are also available to our students. Some of them (employees) are studying for part-time degrees. As part of that relationship, our students get placement opportunities. They all went to Siemens last year in Lincoln, where the company has a facility.
If and when the Indian government passes a bill to allow foreign universities to set up campuses in India, will the University of Lincoln be interested in coming here?
IO: We might be.
PT: We are waiting for the bill to be passed except that there a one or two issues - the Rs 50 crore corpus that is required and the restriction on repatriation. The corpus should be linked to the number of students. You don’t immediately get 5000 students on a new campus.
Due to the current economic situation in the UK and with the squeeze in government funding, will there be any effect on the tuition fee for international students?
IO: I don’t think so. There’s a supply and demand. UK students will pay higher fees I think from next year. The fees differential (for local and international students) is disappearing. The market won’t stand an increase in international student fees. From April onwards, is there going to be post-study work opportunity for international students?
PT: It’s there. There’s a misconception (that it’s being done away with). The existing post study work visa was being abused by students from certain places who would work for, say, a grocery store. Instead, you are supposed to find work relevant to your degree. Now, after graduation, you’ll get a four- to eight-month extension, depending on your course. Then you should find a relevant job. If you get a relevant job, you should be able to work for a year, which is extendable for up to three years.