UK making efforts to woo Indian students
Posted on November 26, 2014
Even as the number of Indian students choosing the UK for higher education continues to fall, the UK government is taking steps to attract greater numbers.
According to figures from UK’s Higher Education Statistics Agency, despite an overall growth in the number of international students in the current academic year, the numbers from India continue to fall. There was a 25% drop in 2012-13, after a 32% fall the previous year – from 23,985 Indian students going to the UK in 2010-11, the number fell to 12,280 in 2012-13.
“Overall, there has been an increase of overseas students coming to study in the UK and we are taking steps to change the perception among Indian students too, so that a larger number choose UK for higher education. We are trying to dispel the perception that sometimes arises that Indian students encounter unreasonable obstacles from the visa process in applying to come to study in Britain. We now plan to have regular meetings with the Indian high commissioner in London where we would also invite a representative from Universities UK to join us, to address student visa concerns,” Greg Clark, Britain’s minister of universities, science & cities, who was in Delhi recently, told ET.
Besides concerns over the delay in the Tier 4 student visa, the fact that UK has discontinued the poststudy leave to stay in the UK is another reason for Indian students to prefer destinations such as the US and Canada, where they can stay for a year after they finish their studies, even if they don’t get jobs. “One of the confidencebuilding measures that we are undertaking is to communicate to Indian students that they can work in the UK after they finish their studies. Indian graduates who have job offers can work in graduate level jobs for three years with the chance to extend this for a further three years,” minister Clark said. He also pointed out that a visa has been introduced for graduate entrepreneurs which allows graduates who have worldclass innovative ideas to stay in the UK to develop their ideas. “All they need to show is an endorsement from their university that the idea is genuine,” he added.
Indian students in the UK can stay on to work after study in graduate-level employment (£20,000) for three years with possible extension for a further three.
“Since there has been so much concern among Indian students regarding the two-year poststudy visa which was discontinued, it is now necessary for the UK government to let students in India know that they can stay on to work after study if they find graduate-level employment in the UK for three years with possible extension. The salary requirement is actually less than the national average,” says Karan Bilimoria, founder of Cobra Beer and the chancellor of the University of Birmingham.
The UK government is also highlighting a study by the HSBC Group done last year, which shows that the cost of undergraduate university education in the UK in 2012-13 was less than Australia, USA and Canada. According to the study, the average annual cost of higher studies in Australia was $42,093 a year followed by Singapore at $39,229 and the US at $36,565. Overseas undergraduate students need to shell out around $35,045 a year to study in the UK, the study said. “There are a large number of MNCs in the UK that are looking for diversity in their workforce and overseas students have become a huge talent pool for them. The UK has many of the world’s top universities and an UK degree is recognised globally by employers,” minister Clark says.
Meanwhile, Indian HRD minister Smriti Irani recently announced that UK universities have agreed to recognise the plustwo certificates awarded by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to Indian students aspiring to join graduate courses.
Many universities in the UK have been reaching out to their alumni in India to help attract more students. “We also run career counselling services for our international students to help connect them with prospective employers. Besides, our enterprise centre helps us to reach out to students who want to become entrepreneurs and set up spin-off companies on campus. We have a big corpus of funds for such spinoffs and for international students, this could be the route to get a graduate entrepreneurs visa, which will allow them to remain in the UK even after their courses are over,” says David J Richardson, vice-chancellor of the University of East Anglia.