The recent UK-India MoU on mutual recognition of academic qualifications will open roads for skilled academics looking for a job in the UK
UK Government’s flagship Chevening Scholarships and Fellowships this year offered 75 fully funded support for one year to Indian students, to celebrate the 75th anniversary of India’s Independence. Over the years, there has been a marked increase in the number of scholarships given out in India. This year, there has been a focus on talents from tier 2 and tier 3 cities and first-generation learners, displaying a desire to study and return to serve society. The British Council in India is offering at least 18 scholarships for women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and six English scholarships. HSBC India will sponsor 15 scholarships, Pearson India will sponsor two, Hindustan Unilever, Tata Sons and Duolingo will sponsor one each as part of the 75 scholarships.
British High Commissioner Alex Ellis is delighted about the increased participation from smaller cities. “This is the best way to go to another country and meet equally talented people. We want to attract talents to visit the UK. They return as an enriched person after completing their studies and able to contribute more to their own country,” said Mr Ellis, while talking to Education Times at the pre-departure event for the scholars embarking on a journey to the UK in September.
Commenting on the recent UK-India MoU on mutual recognition of academic qualifications between the two countries, he said, “This development is particularly relevant if you are looking for a government job because the one-year master’s completed in the UK will now be recognised by India. This furthers a step to increase the confidence and trust between the two countries.” Underlining the quality of one-year master’s which offers better exposure, Ellis further added, “This will increase students’ exchange between the two countries. Recognition of Indian degrees by the UK will help in seeking a job in the UK.”
Considering the growing interest of Indians to study in the UK, the British embassy is taking measures to speed up the visa process. A few years back, only around 20,000 students visited the UK for studies, but the numbers now have increased manifolds. “There is every possibility that India will soon overtake China in terms of international students’ inflow to the UK. Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the two countries in turbulent times as seen in Afghanistan and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, will help in deepening the relationship between the two democracies,” added Ellis.
The depreciation of the Indian Rupee would be a concern for those aspiring to study abroad. “A great scholarship helps the students, for instance, Chevening covers the entire cost of education and stay in the UK. From what I have observed, Indians are ready to walk the extra mile to improve their education,” added Ellis.
High Potential Individual (HPI) visas have been opened by the UK that allows two years stay to qualified people who have degrees from 50 prominent universities. “After Brexit, some of the policies have been changed to initiate controlled migration. However, this rule has made it relatively easy for Indian nationals to go to the UK. As of now, around 44% of skilled work visas go to Indians. You will see talented people spending time in the UK, studying and working there and eventually coming back to India, which is enriching for both the countries,” said Ellis.
Stories of Scholars
Dr Rushikesh Andhalkar, MBBS (from Rashin village, Ahmednagar)
As a doctor, with a deep desire to eradicate the problem of malnutrition in the tribal belt of Melghat and scarce healthcare facilities in the drought-prone southern Marathwada, Dr Rushikesh Andhalkar wants to hone his academic writing, methods of accessing problems and research abilities, while completing his Master’s in Global Public Health and Policy at Queen Mary Institute of London.
His parents worked as Ayurvedic practitioners in Rashin, which firmed up Dr Rushikesh’s desire to work in rural areas. “Chevening looks for students who have a future vision. As a medical student, I am looking for a solution for the villagers who have to commute for two hours to reach a hospital. Also, Indian villages need holistic medical facilities by combining Homeopathy and Ayurveda.” Volunteering during the Covid pandemic, Dr Rushikesh helped several patients battling mental health problems during isolation and lockdown. “I hope to use the knowledge acquired in the UK to upgrade the public health facilities in Indian villages,” he says.
Idrish Mohammad, lawyer (from Kuchera village, Nagor, Rajasthan)
A first-generation learner from a nomadic tribe called Kamalia, Idrish Mohammad studied in village schools where the medium of instruction was the local Marwari dialect. Idrish practically learnt to speak English and chaste Hindi while completing his LLB at Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI), New Delhi. Preparing to study LLM in Human Right Conflict and Justice at SOAS University of London, Idrish says getting Chevening scholarship is the biggest milestone. Education in the UK will give me a global perspective on the effective implementation of law. “I am involved with several projects that provide education to village children. Youngsters from Kamalia tribe have less than 1% literacy, which can be improved only by constant support,” says Idrish. He aims to set up a centre offering pro-bono legal services, after studying and gathering experience in the UK. “This will be an opportunity to connect with talents from 150 countries, who will have a unique approach to dealing with human crises,” he says. As a lawyer with a deep sense of commitment towards his village, Idrish dreams of seeing youngsters from his village spreading their wings through education.