Schools, colleges and universities from across the UK can now apply for government funding from a £110 million pot to enable students to study and work across the globe, including in India, as part of the new Turing Scheme.
Named after celebrated English mathematician and codebreaker Alan Turing, the new scheme marks a major post-Brexit move as it replaces the European Union (EU) specific student exchange programme called Erasmus, as a means to widen the network of students travelling to study abroad. It’s designed to provide students, including Indians, at UK universities the chance for work placement options at institutions with which their university may have struck an agreement under the scheme.
It could prove quite attractive to young British Indians keen to connect with their roots in India and also for Indian students keen to use the UK as a base for further global exposure.
The scheme comes in the wake of the launch of a new visa, which offers international students the chance to stay on in Britain for up to two years after completing their course in order to gain some work experience.
The Department for Education (DfE) notes that India, already a top source of to the UK, may well be among the leading list of countries with which UK universities seek to strike student exchange deals.
said: “The Turing Scheme is a truly global programme with every country in the world eligible to partner with UK universities, schools and colleges.
“It is also levelling up in action, as the scheme seeks to help students of all income groups from across the country experience fantastic education opportunities in any country they choose.”
The programme will fund 35,000 global exchanges from September 2021, including university study, school exchanges, and industry work placements. The DfE said the aim was also to improve social mobility, targeting students from disadvantaged backgrounds and areas which did not previously have many students benefiting from Erasmus as the British Council and consultants Ecorys target disadvantaged parts of the UK to promote the scheme to improve take up.
Under the scheme, university students from disadvantaged backgrounds could receive up to £490 per month towards living costs, alongside travel funding, and other forms of additional funding to offset the cost of passports, visas and insurance.
UK Education Secretary Gavin Williamson dubbed it “landmark step”, adding: “The programme’s focus on social mobility and value for money will open up more opportunities for international education and travel to all of our students, especially for those from disadvantaged backgrounds who were less likely to benefit from the previous EU scheme.”
, who will conduct university visits to discuss the bidding process, added: “The Turing scheme will support our levelling up agenda by opening up the world to young people and children from all backgrounds with exciting global opportunities.”
UK organisations are being encouraged to form partnerships widely across the globe. Successful applications will receive funding for administering the scheme and students taking part will receive grants to help them with the costs of their . The benefits of the exchanges will be assessed and the findings used to build on future schemes. Funding decisions for subsequent years will be subject to future spending reviews.
The move forms part of an updated International Education Strategy, led by DfE and the Department for International Trade (DIT), focused on boosting global growth opportunities in the education sector post-pandemic.
The strategy reflects a government drive to increase the amount generated from education exports, such as fees and income from overseas students and English language teaching abroad, to £35 billion a year, and sustainably recruit at least 600,000 international students to the UK by 2030.
Streamlining application processes and boosting job prospects for international students form part of the wider strategy goals.