During an interactive session on “education, skills and entrepreneurship” with the students, he said, “The UK and India have a long relationship and we are looking towards future partnerships particularly in education, skills and entrepreneurship.”
The UK, he said, is home to some of the oldest and most respected universities in the world, and some of the very best. The UK hosts four of the world’s top 10 universities (Cambridge, UCL, Imperial College London and Oxford) and is home to 30 of the world’s top 200 universities.
Asquith said, “British degree courses are more intense than in many other countries, with students received top quality education in a shorter period, costing less overall than other destinations like Australia, the US and Singapore.”
The UK attracts more overseas students than any other country except the US, and is a diverse, multicultural society, home to an Indian diaspora of 1.5 million. “And it is not that students always pay the courses themselves. The UK in India hosts the largest Chevening Scholarships and fellowship country programme in the world with a 2.6 million GBP budget to fund about 130 fully funded scholarships and fellowships for future Indian leaders. Besides scholarships for masters’ programmes, short-term fellowships are offered in financial services, journalism, cyber security, science and innovation and leadership and management.”
“These scholarships are funded by the UK’s department of international development (DFID). On an average, 60 Indian students are supported by the Commonwealth programme each year,” said Asquith, adding, “I know some of you feel that it is difficult to get a UK visa. The student visa process is straightforward for genuine students. In 2016, 95% of student entry clearance visa applications were approved, a number that has risen every year since 2010, and the issue rate in India is 91%.”