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UK Higher Education Delegation in Tamil Nadu to discuss opportunities for internationalisation and partnerships in Higher Education

Chennai, 20 September 2023: British Council, the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities, and the Department for Business and Trade (DBT), UK have organised the Tamil Nadu – UK Higher Education Roundtable. The high-level discussion includes representatives from the Department of Higher Education, Government of Tamil Nadu, delegates from UK universities and apex bodies, senior representatives of the state and 25 Tamil Nadu higher education institutions. During the roundtable the education stakeholders from Tamil Nadu and the UK will deliberate on internationalisation of higher education institutions and opportunities in transnational education (TNE).

The India-UK bilateral relationship prioritises education, research, and innovation. This year, the largest ever UK HE delegation comprising 31 UK institutions and apex bodies has arrived in India to engage with Indian officials and university leaders across 19 Indian states from September 18-22. The delegation is focused on expanding partnerships between India and UK institutions through initiatives like Going Global Partnerships (GGP) and the UK-India Education Research Initiative (UKIERI) delivered by the British Council.

Discussions at the roundtable in Tamil Nadu will focus on enhancing direct ties between Tamil Nadu and UK institutions, exploring policies for internationalisation, and promoting research and two-way mobility of students and academicians. Over the next three days, the UK delegates will also visit the Indian Institute of Technology Madras and Anna University to discuss institution-level partnerships through the promotion of TNE and initiatives for research and innovation.

The Tamil Nadu – UK Higher Education Roundtable was inaugurated by Thiru. K. Ponmudi, Hon’ble Minister of Higher Education, Government of Tamil Nadu, in the presence of Thiru Anbil Mahesh Poyyamozhi, Hon’ble Minister of School Education, Government of Tamil Nadu, Sir Steve Smith, International Education Champion, Government of UK, Oliver Ballhatchet MBE, British Deputy High Commissioner in Chennai, Maddalaine Ansell, Director Education, British Council, Adrian Chadwick OBE, Regional Director South Asia, British Council and Janaka Pushpanathan, Director South India, British Council.

Tamil Nadu has shown great initiative to enhance the higher education ecosystem in the state by expanding institutional and academic partnerships through TNE. With 10 partnerships between seven Tamil Nadu and nine UK universities, the state stands amongst the top four participating Indian states in British Council’s Going Global Partnerships (GGP) programme – that has enabled collaboration between 100 Indian and 55 UK universities.

Building on the long-standing relationship with the UK, the state of Tamil Nadu signed a memorandum of understanding with British Council to explore support towards internationalisation of higher education, which includes but is not restricted to research and mobility. As part of this MoU, British Council will enable collaborations in new and emerging areas through the GGP, explore the creation of joint funded mobility/scholarship opportunities and support faculty capacity building in teaching, learning, and leadership.

Addressing the delegation, Thiru. K. Ponmudi, Hon’ble Minister of Higher Education, Government of Tamil Nadu said, “The UK is a natural partner in our efforts to internationalise higher education in the state, and we look forward to expanding opportunities through bilateral collaborations. The MoU signed with British Council today will focus on internationalising the higher education ecosystem in Tamil Nadu, benefitting our current and future students, academics and institutions. Our commitment to pursuing more partnerships is strong, and through the discussion with the UK delegation and British Council, we intend to unlock the potential of the youth in the state. I invite UK institutions to partner with us in accelerating joint and dual degree programmes and collaborative research in mutual interest areas.”

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