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British Council keen to attract students from the U.K. to India

A. A. Michael Raj

10-day `Education UK Festival' concludes

Coimbatore: For a growing number of bright students in India, going to the United Kingdom for higher studies seems to be on top of the agenda, but the British Council would like it to be a two-way interchange.

At the 10-day "Education UK Festival", which concluded in Coimbatore on Monday, one of the points most often discussed with students was that in 2003-04, as many as 16,000 Indian students enrolled for higher education in various institutions in the U.K.

"There is a 13 to 15 per cent growth every year in the number of students going to the U.K. from all over India," said Ruchika Castelino, Head, Education U.K. India, who was on a visit to Coimbatore.

"However, we are also trying to encourage U.K. students to come to India for short-term programmes. To improve understanding between the two countries we need to have a balance. In future, we are going to see U.K. students in India," she said.

Benefits

Studying in a foreign country had its own benefits for young people. "Sometimes you can't recognise them when they complete their studies because they are completely transformed. It is not just the education. For perhaps the first time in their lives, they are away from their families and have to learn to cook, eat well and manage their finances," she noted.

British Council was also interested in helping institutions in India and the U.K. enter into partnerships.

"Under the educational initiative in India, we are hoping to increase academic and research collaboration. We are trying to facilitate this both ways. Ratings are based on the calibre of research and the quality of partnerships. Long-term partnerships are for mutual benefit and it is an activity we wish to promote," she said.

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