London, July 22 (PTI) A leading network of British universities and Indian students and professionals has welcomed the “landmark” agreement between the UK and India to mutually recognize each other’s higher education qualifications, calling it a long-awaited achievement in bilateral relations. will enable significantly smoother movement of students between the two countries.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), agreed by Prime Ministers Boris Johnson and Narendra Modi last year as part of the UK-India Enhanced Trade Partnership (ETP), means the UK will get A-levels and their equivalents, undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. Now recognized in India.
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This will allow Indian students graduating from British universities to apply for postgraduate qualifications or to start government careers that require university qualifications after returning home.
“This is a landmark, historic agreement that has been years in the making. The qualifications students gain will be recognized on both sides, making it easier for students to progress in education and move into employment,” said Vivienne Stern, chief executive, Universities UK International (UUKi), which represents more than 140 UK universities.
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“The recognition of UK Masters is a particularly important development. This means that Indian graduates from outstanding universities in the UK will receive formal recognition of their outstanding achievements and full access to jobs in the public sector in India,” he said.
The National Indian Students and Alumni Union (NISAU) UK has welcomed the long-awaited move, which student groups have been lobbying for years.
“This is a truly landmark, long-awaited and impactful achievement in UK-India relations,” said Sanam Arora, Chair of NISAU UK.
“This will enable significantly smoother movement of students between the two countries and expand the nature and scope of joint cooperation between the individual universities of the two countries. NISAU has long campaigned for mutual recognition of qualifications and this agreement is therefore a welcome development,” he said.
According to official statistics, the UK welcomed 84,555 Indian students to the UK in 2020-2021 and India is a popular destination for UK students to study abroad as part of the Touring Scheme international education programme.
The new MoU is expected to make UK universities more attractive to Indian applicants and provide an economic boost, as the benefit to the UK for welcoming students from outside the European Union (EU) is estimated at around £109,000 per person. .
“UK universities already have an excellent reputation around the world. Now, we are delighted to deliver on our commitment to de-block trade between our two countries and make UK higher education more accessible and attractive to Indian students,” said UK International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan.
This agreement increases the chances of UK nationals traveling to study in India, allowing them more choice and broadening their academic and educational horizons, as well as opening the door for institutions to develop courses that can be delivered in both countries.
“This agreement builds on our UK-India partnership and removes barriers so more of the best and brightest students from India can study here, boosting our economy and enriching our campuses and communities,” said UK Education Secretary James Cleverley.
“This creates more opportunities for UK students to study in India, and paves the way for our world-class universities to offer more degree programs in one of the fastest growing and most dynamic countries on earth,” he said.
British Council India Director Barbara Wickham OBE said the Agreement on Mutual Recognition of Educational Qualifications is a significant moment in celebration of India-UK education relations.
“We are also delighted that the agreement has been finalized during our ongoing India/UK Together Season of Culture – our landmark program which marks India’s 75th anniversary and celebrates the deep connection between India and the UK,” he said.
The agreement is one of three implementing ETPs signed between India and the UK on Thursday, which includes a commitment to create a task force to provide opportunities for Indian nurses and nursing aides to train and work in the UK’s National Health Service (NHS). Seafarers Certificate of Mutual Competence to renew a commitment for mutual recognition.
According to the UK Department for International Trade (DIT), trade between the UK and India is over £24 billion, and the investment relationship supports more than half a million jobs. It said the government had secured new access to the Indian market under the ETP which businesses estimate would unlock around £92m of additional UK exports each year in spirits, oats, pork and more.
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