Indians learning in the UK is an important part of the strong partnership in education that subsists between the two nations. The progressively growing connections between universities in the UK and India (UK universities entering into Indian partnerships), and between UK institutions of higher education and Indian businesses are key aspects of this multi-dimensional partnership which has massive untapped possibilities.
Even though intercontinental travel has been relatively rare in the past 20 months, students from India have started arriving in the UK in large numbers in current weeks for higher education. Until just a relatively short time ago in the year 2017, only 11,700 students from India arrived in the UK. However, this year the recorded number was 62,700.
The increase is somewhat because of the Graduate Immigration Route of the UK, which delivers two years’ work rights post-study to learners from India, and partly owing to the superior-quality education offered in the UK. Learners who arrive here make friends and associates when they come to study, and even when they get back to India there is a knot of personal as well as professional associations that last for a lifetime and support the bilateral relationship.
Education, business, and investment are essential elements of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership settled by Prime Ministers Modi and Johnson in May 2021. The UK India Business Council lately turned to businesses and institutions for higher education to get their opinions on the FTA and the comprehensive Partnership.
The COVID 19 pandemic has fundamentally altered our understanding of how education can be offered. As institutes around the world were compelled to shut down, and learners and educators were confined to their homes with lockdown restrictions, platforms for digital education gradually emerged as the most effective solution.
In India, the issue is further aggravated by the sheer scale of the student population. Presently about 1,000 universities plus 42,000 colleges teach roughly 38.5 million learners. However, as per estimation by the British Council, the number is approximated to rise to 120 million by 2030. It is therefore clear that critical steps are necessary to address this rapidly broadening demand-supply gap.
The UK universities along with other providers of education can play a significant role by developing capacity through partnerships with Indian institutes and by online learning.
Multifaceted terms of NEP
There are three extents of policy that are important in permitting this capacity expansion. Firstly, the Mutual Acknowledgment of Educational Certificates, counting the rigorous master’s degrees of one-year duration offered in the UK. This qualification is recognised in another place, for instance throughout Europe and the USA, nonetheless not yet acknowledged in India. Education, nowadays, is not judged based on the time invested in it and is based on what is derived out of a course. Unfortunately, the present situation focuses on time consumed instead of learning objectives achieved, which puts learners and potential employers at a genuine inconvenience and restricts collaboration between the institutions in the two different nations.
National Education Policy (NEP) of India designed in the year 2020 introduces steps to augment higher education potential by permitting some foreign institutes to operate in the nation. Nevertheless, only the 100 top-ranked academies in the world can function like this. They are only permitted to enter into collaboration with Indian academies that have a National Assessment and Accreditation Council ‘A’ rating or higher. Provided the estimated student strength of 120 million by the year 2030 in India, it is believed that an extensive range of universities needs to be allowed to work, partner, and confer degrees in India. However, this must not compromise excellence.
Permitting all UK institutes to work together with Indian institutes would assist in delivering more tailored associations. This would assisting universities to develop partnerships founded on strengths of department or program, instead of overall ratings.
To bridge the Gaps in Demand-supply
The third part of the policy that can be considered is online learning, where demand and supply, has swelled since the beginning of the pandemic. This has offered new prospects to convey degrees of superior quality to a huge student base flexibly and inexpensively. Therefore, a combination of physical and digital learning engagement needs to be arranged as per the demand. The UK institutes offer superior-quality courses; therefore, this is an area appropriate for the association between UK and Indian establishments.
Developing a mutually operative partnership in the higher education sector can help students to effortlessly move between these two nations, enhance skill sets, reinforce partnerships, initiate better research opportunities, and enhance bilateral trade and capital flows. This, in turn, can help in directing towards a higher rate of employment and overall development in both the nations.
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