UK's new student exchange scheme opens, Indian universities to also have tie ups

The Department for Education confirmed that India, already a top source of international students to the UK, may well be among the leading list of countries with which UK universities will tie up
Image for representational purpose
Image for representational purpose

Schools, colleges and universities from across the UK can now apply for government funding from a 110 million pounds pot from Friday to enable students to study and work across the globe, including in India, as part of the new Turing Scheme.

Named after celebrated English mathematician and codebreaker Alan Turing, the new scheme marks a major post-Brexit move as it replaces the European Union (EU) specific student exchange programme called Erasmus, as a means to widen the network of students travelling to study abroad.

The Department for Education (DfE) confirmed that India, already a top source of international students to the UK, may well be among the leading list of countries with which UK universities seek to strike student exchange projects.

“The Turing Scheme is a truly global programme with every country in the world eligible to partner with UK universities, schools and colleges,” said UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

“It is also levelling up in action, as the scheme seeks to help students of all income groups from across the country experience fantastic education opportunities in any country they choose,” he said.

The programme will fund 35,000 global exchanges from September 2021, including university study, school exchanges, and industry work placements.

The DfE said the aim was also to improve social mobility, targeting students from disadvantaged backgrounds and areas which did not previously have many students benefiting from Erasmus as the British Council and consultants Ecorys target disadvantaged parts of the UK to promote the scheme to improve take up.

Under the scheme, university students from disadvantaged backgrounds could receive up to 490 pounds per month towards living costs, alongside travel funding, and other forms of additional funding to offset the cost of passports, visas and insurance.

“The programme's focus on social mobility and value for money will open up more opportunities for international education and travel to all of our students, especially for those from disadvantaged backgrounds who were less likely to benefit from the previous EU scheme,” said UK Education Secretary Gavin Williamson, dubbing it a “landmark step”.

In support of the launch, UK Universities Minister Michelle Donelan will visit Cardiff University and Edinburgh University to discuss the bidding process including how to demonstrate widening access to more disadvantaged students as part of the application process.

“The Turing scheme will support our levelling up agenda by opening up the world to young people and children from all backgrounds with exciting global opportunities,” she said.

UK organisations are being encouraged to form partnerships widely across the globe.

Successful applications will receive funding for administering the scheme and students taking part will receive grants to help them with the costs of their international experience.

The benefits of the exchanges will be assessed and the findings used to build on future schemes.

Funding decisions for subsequent years will be subject to future spending reviews.

The move forms part of an updated International Education Strategy, led by DfE and the Department for International Trade (DIT), focused on boosting global growth opportunities in the education sector post-pandemic.

“The UK offers world-class education, a global reputation and a strong presence in international markets, with education exports, such as in EdTech and transnational education reaching 23.

3 billion pounds in 2018,” said UK Minister for Exports Graham Stuart.

“It's vital we help the UK's world-renowned education industry to build back better by exporting our brilliant goods, services, skills and innovation across the globe,” he said.

The strategy reflects a government drive to increase the amount generated from education exports, such as fees and income from overseas students and English language teaching abroad, to 35 billion pounds a year, and sustainably recruit at least 600,000 international students to the UK by 2030.

Streamlining application processes and boosting job prospects for international students form part of the wider strategy goals.

“We welcome the launch of the Turing Scheme, which will create new opportunities for students in UK universities to gain valuable international experience.

We know these opportunities enable graduates to develop the skills employers need, and that the benefits are most pronounced for those from less advantaged backgrounds,” said Vivienne Stern, Director of Universities UK International (UUKi).

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