The Sixth India-UK Education Forum Meeting took place in New Delhi today. Smt. Smriti Irani, the Union Minister of Human Resource Development, Government of India, and Mr Greg Clark, the Minister for Universities, Science and Cities of the United Kingdom co-chaired the meeting. Both the countries discussed the existing bilateral cooperation initiatives in education and also agreed to further strengthen it by taking up several new initiatives. Both sides also acknowledged the cooperation mechanism through joint UK-India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI).
Both sides also discussed the Chevening Scholarships for Indian students; two-way student mobility; Generation UK-India programme which will support up to 25,000 young people from the UK to come to India over the next 5 years and initiatives supported by DFID. The UK delegation confirmed that they will put in four times more resources for the Chevening scholarships for Indian students and make it the largest Chevening Programme in the World. The Indian delegation emphasized that, along with students from UK, they would also like to welcome teachers and faculty members under its new programme, Global Initiative for Academics Network (GIAN), the response to which was extremely positive from the Minister leading the UK delegation.
After taking over of the present Government, the issue of equivalence of India’s 10+2 qualifications with “A” level qualification of UK was taken up at very high levels. UK side has acted promptly on it and it was conveyed today in the Forum meeting that most of the UK Institutions recognize the 10+2 qualifications for admission of Indian students into the higher educational institutions in UK. The UK delegation also welcomed more Indian students in the British Universities and also assured of addressing the barriers in student mobility.
The Indian delegation appreciated the initiative of UK Government to install the statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Parliament Street, London and also offered to co-sponsor the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Lecture.
It was also decided to constitute a Joint Working Group consisting of officers from both sides to deliberate and work on modalities of future collaborations in education. The JWG will meet frequently and the first meeting will be held by December 2014.
A Joint Statement was also signed by both the Ministers highlighting the educational cooperation between India and the United Kingdom and the future areas of collaboration. The areas of leadership development; research, innovation, technology and knowledge transfer; Skill Development and Entrepreneurship; enhancing people to people links and two-way mobility; quality improvement in education; use of ICT in education; development of MOOCs and e-Library and launch of UKIERI-III in 2016 have been highlighted in the Joint Statement.
The Forum was attended by Senior Government Officials, policy makers and academicians from both sides.