The UK and India have signed an agreement dubbed “historic” to mutually recognise each other’s higher education qualifications in a move welcomed by .
The memorandum of understanding (MoU), signed this week as part of the UK-India Enhanced Trade Partnership (ETP) agreed by Prime Ministers Boris Johnson and Narendra Modi last year, means UK A-levels and their equivalents, undergraduate and postgraduate degrees will now be recognised in India. It will allow Indian students who graduate from British universities to apply for postgraduate qualifications, or embark on government careers that require university qualifications, when they return home.
“This is a landmark, historic agreement which has been many years in the making. Qualifications students receive will be recognised on both sides, making it easier for students to progress in education and move into jobs,” said , Chief Executive, Universities UK International (UUKi), which represents over 140 UK universities.
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“The recognition of UK Masters’ is a particularly important development. It means that Indian graduates of the UK’s outstanding universities will receive formal recognition of their outstanding achievements and full access to jobs in the public sector in India,” she said.
The National Indian Students and Alumni Union (NISAU) UK hailed the long-awaited move, which the students’ group had been lobbying for over the years.
“This is truly a landmark, long-awaited and impactful achievement in UK-India relations,” said NISAU UK chair Sanam Arora.
“It will enable significantly smoother movement of students between the two countries and broaden the nature and extent of joint collaborations between individual universities in the two countries. NISAU has been long campaigning for mutual recognition of qualifications and this agreement is therefore a most welcome development,” she said.
According to official statistics, in 2020-2021 the UK welcomed 84,555 Indian students to the UK and India is a popular destination for UK students to study abroad as part of the international education programme. The new MoU is expected to make UK universities even more appealing to Indian applicants and is likely to provide an economic boost, as the benefit to the UK of welcoming students from beyond the European Union (EU) is estimated to be around £109,000 per person.
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“UK universities already have a fantastic reputation around the globe. Now, we are delighted to deliver on our promise to unblock barriers to trade between our two nations and make UK higher education even easier to access and more appealing to Indian students,” said UK .
The deal is one of three signed between India and the UK on Thursday implementing the ETP, including commitments to create a taskforce to provide opportunities for Indian nurses and nursing associates seeking to train and work in the UK”s National Health Service (NHS), and to renew a commitment for mutual recognition of the Seafarers’ Certificate of Competency.