UK hopes to gain from quota losers

UK has announced incentives to attract 1,00,000 more overseas students, including Indians, reports Vijay Dutt.

india Updated: Apr 19, 2006 04:48 IST
Vijay Dutt

Britain is hoping to profit from HRD Minister Arjun Singh’s proposed move to increase reservations in educational institutions in India.

Banking on the fact that many Indians would be forced to look overseas to provide their children with quality higher education if and when the reservation Bill is passed, the UK has announced incentives to attract 1,00,000 more overseas students, including Indians, over the next five years.

Prime Minister Tony Blair unveiled two such initiatives on Tuesday. He also officially launched a new scheme — the UK-India Education and Research Initiative.

To woo students, the UK plans to reduce the duration of honours courses from three years to two. Though fees aren’t being reduced, this will help reduce a year’s tuition and accommodation costs. The savings work out to £11,000 (tuition fees only) for an Oxford student.

It is also proposed that students be allowed to work in the UK for up to a year after graduating to enable them to recover their fees. The UK also plans to allow undergraduates more flexibility in completing their studies like in the US.

Pilot schemes to provide shorter degree programmes will be launched in five universities in September.

The initiatives are backed with over £27 million in funding from the UK government, the British Council, the education sector and industry. Referring to the scheme with India, Blair said: “It lays the ground for us to collaborate on world-class research which will be backed by government and industry.”

Firms BP, BAE Systems, GlaxoSmithKline, Shell and the Tata Group will be "corporate champions" for the project.

First Published: Apr 19, 2006 04:21 IST