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UK: Favourite Education Destination for Indians
Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) has emerged the most popular postgraduate stream among Indian students pursuing higher education in the United Kingdom, and engineering and biotechnology have overtaken Information Technology and Computer Science, possibly, thanks to the recession.
In fact, there has been a growing interest among Indian students to pursue applied sciences and Ph.D Programs in the U.K., according to Head of Education UK (South India), British Council Division-Chennai, L. Dhanasekaran.
Shorter duration of master’s Programs, transparent visa procedures and a post-study work scheme continue to attract more and more Indian students to pursue higher education in the U.K. This is evident from the fact that 44,000 students across the country enrolled for courses in the U.K. during the September 2009 intake. Of this, 16,000 were from south India. The United Kingdom has 100 universities and 600 colleges offering postgraduate and research-level Programs.
“Almost 95 per cent of the master’s Programs in the U.K. are of one-year duration. These are intensive courses with nine months of PG diploma and three months of dissertation work. The emphasis is on developing thinking in the students and encouraging discussions. There is periodic assessment for the students. When it comes to the project, they are given the independence to select the projects,” he explained during a visit to Puducherry for a seminar on ‘Studying and Living in the U.K.’
With a transparent system in place, students need to score 40 points – 30 based on the admission letter issued by a “sponsored institution” and 10 based on financial documentation. “The U.K. government has reviewed all education institutions, universities and colleges, whether they have required facilities and resources to take in international students. Such institutions have been given sponsors/licences to admit international students. This is to safeguard the students’ interest,” Mr. Dhanasekaran said.
The visa is provided for the duration of the course with an additional two to four months. The students, on successful completion of the course, could apply for jobs and transfer from student visa to work permit visa.
The TIER-1 Point-Based Scheme (post-study work) permits students to work for two years, after which they need to apply for regular work permit to continue.
A number of government-funded scholarships including Commonwealth and Chevening Scholarships are available for postgraduate studies. “Universities too offer bursaries in the tuition fees for meritorious students exceeding entry qualifications. For Ph.D, there are the UKIERI Scholarship and Commonwealth Scholarships,” he said.
Many students were looking to pursue Ph.D Programs too, he said, adding, “New options are also available. There is a ‘New Route Ph.D’ in which scholars can register with the U.K. institution and start the course.
They can come to India and work with the local institution for some time before spending the last six to nine months in the U.K. The Ph.D programme is for a minimum of three years.”
Meanwhile, the U.K. government proactively assessed private colleges in the U.K. during the period April-September 2009.
“The colleges were pruned rigorously and the licences of 2,000 colleges cancelled. This was primarily because of lack of infrastructure to offer courses for international students.
The faculty and resources were not up to the international standards. These institutions have been asked to equip themselves and come back,” he said. He cautioned students to check whether the institutions were on the ‘sponsor list’ before applying.
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