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India-UK: A Winning Partnership

Vignesh Karthik, Sanam Arora

NISAU’s research reveals an opportunity to chart a winning partnership between the UK and India through Higher Education

In the wake of Brexit and the introduction of the Graduate Route visa, the UK is witnessing a refreshed interest among Indian students as an education destination. The year 2019 saw 30,000 Indian students come to the UK, a 63% year-on-year increase. Clearly, the interest to come to the UK to pursue Higher Education is palpable among Indian students. However, given the uncertainty ushered in by the COVID-19 pandemic, interventions by the stakeholders of the UK Higher Education sector are pertinent.

As the oldest and largest body of Indian students in the UK, we recently conducted a survey of prospective Indian students and offer-holders to capture the concerns and requirements of Indian students in greater detail. While the expectations include securing international work experience, value for money, and brand value that the British universities offer; the concerns are centered on lack of clear communication from their universities and about travel and safety. In the context of the absence of a definitive medical remedy to the disease coupled with steep dips in the rates of growth across G7 countries, the Higher Education sector of the UK needs to be posited as the vehicle to secure revenues and talent from India thereby creating a winning partnership. The initial warmth displayed by the UK vis-à-vis empathetic policy moves in favor of students as against the United States for example, needs to be followed up with substantial steps towards increasing the number of students coming to the UK from India.

Apart from the net positive impact amounting to around £5.7 billion [2015-16 prices], such an influx of Indian students will also help the UK address the shortage of skilled workforce, which in turn is considerably affecting the economy.

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