UK Government

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills: UK and India Commit to Strengthening Education Links

Press Release   •   Jan 15, 2010 10:32 GMT

Business Secretary, Lord Mandelson will be among the British delegation meeting the Indian Minister for Human Resource Development, Kapil Sibal, this week for discussions about the broad range of UK-India cooperation.

Promoting stronger education links between the two countries is a key theme of Minister Sibal’s four-day visit to the UK. Today he will deliver a keynote address to an audience including dozens of education ministers from around the world at the Learning and Technology World Forum in London. He will also meet university vice chancellors and set out his vision for the expansion of India’s education sector.

At  an event in Lancaster House this afternoon, Lord Mandelson and Minister Sibal will witness the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between British and Indian universities, pledging to foster more successful partnerships in higher education and research.

Lord Mandelson said:

“Minister Sibal and I are determined to strengthen collaboration between British and Indian universities. This relationship is already very strong, but has fantastic potential for further growth. The opportunities offer both India and the UK a route to the high-level knowledge that will power our future economic growth and nurture generations of talented and innovative global citizens.”

The UK’s relationship with India over the last three years has flourished following the implementation of UK-India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI) and the establishment of the UK-India Education Forum.

The Government has encouraged UK universities to internationalise their higher education provision and seek out Indian partners to develop mutually-beneficial research projects, skills programmes, exchange schemes and complementary curricula. Currently more than 50,000 Indian students are studying in the UK.

Since it was formed in 2006, the UKIERI has overseen the creation of around 500 new UK-Indian partnerships, from schools through to higher education, which are helping to drive world-class research into issues such as climate forecasting, bio-medicine and oceanography.

Today’s MOU will build on the foundations needed to develop these partnerships on a wider scale and in disciplines set to shape the UK’s industrial future, such as engineering, nanotechnology, low carbon and agriculture.

Later this afternoon, Business Minister Pat McFadden and Minister Sibal will co-chair the second UK-India Education Forum culminating in the signing of a joint-statement, outlining future cooperation.

Mr. McFadden said:

“This forum was set up by our two countries’ Prime Ministers to facilitate cooperation in education, building on the strong relations our two countries enjoy. Excellent progress has been made since the Forum met for the first time in September 2008 and the benefits of our collaboration are reflected in all levels of our countries’ education and skills system.

“Today we are reaffirming our commitment to work together to promote co-operation in areas such as vocational skills development and the creation of innovative universities - both here and in India.”

Minister Sibal will be in the UK until Saturday and will visit schools, universities and colleges. He will also meet the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, Ed Balls and the Minister of State for International Development, Gareth Thomas.

Notes to editors

1.                  Photos from Minister Sibal’s visit, including the MoU and joint statement signing, will be available at

2.                  The UK-India Education Research Initiative (UKIERI) was launched by the Prime Minister in 2006. The £20m, five-year programme is funded by BIS, FCO, Devolved Administrations and the British Council as well as GSK, BAE Systems, BP and Shell. It aims to substantially improve educational links between India and the UK, ensuring long-term research partnerships in science, technology, humanities and the social sciences. The initiative also includes activities to strengthen professional and technical skills; foster links between schools; improve policy dialogue and collaborative partnership delivery. The Initiative ends in March 2011. The UK government is keen to build on the success of the current programme through further collaboration.

3.                  The UK-India Education Forum was set up following the signing of a Joint Agreement during the Prime Ministers Summit in January 2008. The Forum is taking forward collaborative activities in HE, skills, regulation and quality assurance aimed at strengthening partnership working between the UK and India. The first meeting was held in London in September 2008.

Department for Business, Innovation & Skills

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is building a dynamic and competitive UK economy by: creating the conditions for business success; promoting innovation, enterprise and science; and giving everyone the skills and opportunities to succeed. To achieve this it will foster world-class universities and promote an open global economy. BIS - Investing in our future.


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