University leaders join delegation to India to promote UK higher education

Posted by ap507 at Dec 09, 2015 11:29 AM |
University of Leicester’s President and Vice-Chancellor is part of ministerial delegation

A large number of UK university leaders are in India this week (9-11 Dec) as part of a delegation to raise the profile of UK higher education.  Among them is Professor Paul Boyle, Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Leicester.

The delegation will be led by the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills Sajid Javid MP and the Minister for Universities and Science Jo Johnson MP. They will be joined by nine university vice-chancellors, as well as several pro-vice-chancellors and the Director of the UK Higher Education Unit.

The aim of the visit is to promote the university links that exist between the UK and India and to promote the UK as a study destination for international students. India provides more international students to the UK than almost any other country – second only to China – with 19,750 students from India studying at all levels.

The visit to India follows the UK government's recent commitment to international students announced in the Chancellor's Spending Review and Autumn Statement in November. The statement said the government is ‘committed to strong growth in students from outside the European Union (EU)’ and said that the number of students from outside the EU at English universities is expected to rise by 55,000 by 2020.

Professor Sir Steve Smith, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Exeter and Chair of Universities UK’s International Policy Network, said: “This is a significant delegation and will provide an opportunity to highlight the growth potential for UK-India university links.

“It will be a chance for us to repeat the government’s commitment to growing the numbers of international students coming to the UK. It will be an opportunity also for us to remind students and academics from India that they are welcome in the UK and that there remain opportunities for qualified international graduates to stay in the UK to work for a period after graduating.

“Indian students and academics make an enormous contribution to higher education and to the UK, academically, culturally and economically. The UK remains one of the most attractive destinations in the world for international students and is well positioned to benefit from the expected growth in international higher education.” 

Vivienne Stern, Director of the UK Higher Education International Unit (IU) and also part of the UK ministerial delegation to India, said: “UK universities and qualifications have an enviable global reputation for quality, with a 91% student satisfaction rate among international students. This is higher than for many other major, English-speaking countries.

“This is why so many international students, including those from India, choose to study in the UK. Research published by the IU today, comparing international students’ perceptions of study in the UK with those who chose to study elsewhere, demonstrates that this reputation is richly deserved. On almost every measure, we outperform the main alternative countries in terms of student satisfaction and the quality of teaching and learning.”

The vice-chancellors travelling as part of the delegation are:

Professor Sir Steve Smith, Vice-Chancellor, University of Exeter and Chair of Universities UK International Policy Network

Professor Colin Riordan, Vice Chancellor, Cardiff University and Chair of the UK Higher Education International Unit

Professor Paul Boyle, President and Vice-Chancellor, University of Leicester

Peter Horrocks, Vice-Chancellor, The Open University

Professor Calie Pistorius, Vice-Chancellor, University of Hull

Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, President and Vice-Chancellor, University of Manchester

Professor John Vinney, Vice-Chancellor, Bournemouth University

Professor Andrew Wathey, Vice-Chancellor, Northumbria University       

Professor Stuart Bartholomew, Vice-Chancellor, Arts University Bournemouth 



  1. The visit to India will take place over three days, from Wednesday 9 December to Friday 11 December.
  2. India is the second most popular sending country to the UK (after China). There are currently 19,750 Indian students enrolled at UK higher education institutions (latest available figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency).
  3. The UK-India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI) which is also funded by the UK and Indian Governments, has supported nearly 400 institutional links since its establishment in 2005 and builds on longstanding institutional relationships. See:
  4. As well as a commitment to seeing a growth in international students coming to the UK, the UK government’s recent Spending Review and Autumn Statement 2015 (27 Nov) also contained a commitment that current English language requirements for international students coming to the UK will remain unchanged. It announced also measures to help support international postgraduates and their dependants. In order to ensure that UK universities can continue to compete with the US, Australia and Canada for top international students, the statement said that ‘dependants of postgraduates on courses lasting more than a year will be welcome to come and work’.
  5. Universities UK is the representative organisation for the UK’s universities. Founded in 1918, its mission is to be the voice for all universities in the UK, providing high quality leadership and support to its members to promote a successful and diverse higher education sector. With 132 members and offices in London, Cardiff (Universities Wales) and Edinburgh (Universities Scotland), it promotes the strength and success of UK universities nationally and internationally. Visit:
  6. The UK Higher Education International Unit (IU) represents UK universities internationally and works to help them meet their international aims. They do this by actively promoting UK universities abroad, providing trusted information for and about them, and creating new opportunities through their ability to act at sector level. They draw on UK university expertise to influence policy in the UK and overseas, and deliver high quality services to overseas governments and universities themselves to enable them to engage with a broader range of partners internationally, for mutual benefit.
  7. Today's report from the International Unit – International Undergraduate Students: The UK's Competitive Advantage – shows the UK has the highest satisfaction ratings among our comparator countries. The research shows 91% satisfaction with UK undergraduate education from international students. The study reveals also that a higher proportion of international students would recommend the UK than any of its major English-speaking peers.

Gareth Morgan, Media Relations Manager, Universities UK

Email: /

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