New Delhi, Dec 13: Indians are welcome to study and work in Great Britain, says UK's Minister for Science and Universities Jo Johnson even as Europe grapples with issues on migrants.
In an exclusive interview during a visit to India to announce the 'UK-India Year of Education, Research and Innovation for 2016', Johnson says that going to study in the UK is brain gain and not brain drain. Excerpts of the interview:
Q) Is the Indo-UK education scene revving up? The crème-de la-crème of British universities are here in India with me to showcase that if you want to study in higher education, then UK is the place.
There is no place in world where you can do higher education better than in the UK.
If you want to gain the skills to compete in the global economy, British universities are ready and want to help.
Q) But one hears so much about visa issues and denials to Indian students? A) There is no limit on the number of Indian students we will give a warm welcome to. Every year we want more Indian students to come and study in the UK.
We want them to stay on after they finish studying. To stay on and find graduate jobs, this is now permitted under our system. I want to make it very-very clear that Indian students are warmly welcome to UK.
Q) How closely aligned are the education systems of the countries? A) We are working closely with the Indian government to ensure that our systems of higher education, our universities and our scientists can collaborate to mutual advantage.
Q) What is the state of cooperation on science between India and UK? A) We see a huge potential for doing science between Britain and India and I am amazed at the limitless opportunity for collaboration that exists.
In the past 6 years, we have seen the value of our scientific research collaboration go from just one million pounds in 2008 to 200 million pounds today.
We want to see that rate of growth continue. Hence, the universities in Britain are seeking to work with Indian universities to accelerate the number of collaborations.
Q) Any highlights from the Indo-UK S&T collaboration. A) This week the Newton Program got a new fillip this is our 50 million pound cooperation platform for science collaboration with India. Overall, the Newton Program will now run until 2021.
The India component for that the Newton-Bhabha program which has a value of 50 million pounds has been a huge success. The flagship of our science collaboration will bring together our scientists.