Today, British Council, the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities, hosted the West Bengal – UK Roundtable on Higher Education which saw participation from senior representatives of the Government of West Bengal, key educational institutions from the state, and a delegation of senior representatives of the UK education sector.
This roundtable was part of an India-wide tour by the largest ever delegation of higher education (HE) leaders from the UK to visit India, comprising in apex UK education bodies such as Universities UK International (UUKi) and Department for International Trade (DIT UK), The Russell Group, Universities Wales, along with senior leaders from 22 UK HE institutions. The delegation is meeting central and state government officials of India, policymakers and senior university leaders from 10 Indian states, in Kolkata, Delhi, Bengaluru, and Ahmedabad.
The West Bengal – UK Roundtable on Higher Education was helmed by Mr Bratya Basu, Hon’ble Minister of Education, Government of West Bengal, Mr Manish Jain, IAS, Principal Secretary – Higher Education, Government of West Bengal, Dr Debanjan Chakrabarti, Director East and Northeast India, and Rittika Chanda Parruck, Director Education, British Council, India.
It built on the ambitious India-UK Roadmap 2030 – and focussed on education, research, and innovation – key pillars of the India-UK bilateral relationship. It also takes forward the strong focus on transnational education and internationalisation of HE in India.
The delegation discussed enhancing development of direct linkages and partnerships between HEIs of both the countries and supporting the two-way mobility of teachers, researchers and students. The session also discussed new policy measures and activities to support internationalisation, quality assurance and collaboration through teaching, industry-academia partnerships and the identification of partnership opportunities for the UK’s coveted and trusted educational institutions to set up campuses in India.
Hon’ble Minister of Education, Government of West Bengal, Mr Bratya Basu said, “West Bengal is an important hub for education, and houses a number of apex institutions of national importance for academics as well as research. In line with Hon’ble Chief Minister, Ms Mamata Banerjee’s vision of a global Bengal, this year’s Bengal Global Business Summit (BGBS) featured education as a key sector for sustainable growth, employment generation and creation of international quality research and innovation institutions in the state, to serve as a hub for all of East, Northeast India and ASEAN countries. UK had the largest international delegation at BGBS, including in higher education. This roundtable is an outcome of our engagement with the UK education sector through the British Council. Through this roundtable, I invite UK institutions to partner us to accelerate two way mobility of faculty and students, the setup of joint and dual degree programs, setting up campuses in West Bengal and enhance our joint research in areas of mutual interest.”
Dr. Debanjan Chakrabarti, Director East and Northeast India, British Council said, “At the British Council, we seek opportunities to partner with India’s knowledge ambitions. We are confident that the HE delegation to West Bengal will pave the way for greater collaboration opportunities between the HEIs in the state and the UK. With the recently concluded BGBS, the HE delegation serves as a launch pad for more focussed and time bound action on the state’s goals around international partnerships in education and build towards BGBS 2023.”
Ms Rittika Chanda Parruck, Director Education, British Council India said, “British Council has always aimed to facilitate greater and deeper collaboration between India and the UK to advance academic opportunities. Now with the India UK Roadmap 2030 adding more purpose to our efforts, we are delighted to bring in the largest ever UK HE delegation to the country. We look forward to the resulting positive impact through a strengthened HE ecosystem in the state.”
The roundtable is an immediate outcome of the recently concluded Bengal Global Business Summit 2022 (BGBS 2022) where education was the focus area and where UK had the largest business and education delegation across sectors.
Representatives from the West Bengal – UK Roundtable on Higher Education:
- Bankura University
- B.C. Roy College of Engineering
- Calcutta University
- IIEST Shibpur
- IISER Kolkata
- Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata
- Jadavpur University
- Maulana Abul Kalam Azad University of Technology
- Women’s University, Diamond Harbour
Representatives from the UK in the West Bengal – UK Roundtable on Higher Education:
- Royal Holloway College, University of London (Tracy Ann Bhamra, Senior Vice-Principal),
- University of Bath (Sarah Louise Brown, Associate Dean Internationalisation)
- University of East London (Paul Michael Marshall, Pro-Vice-Chancellor Careers & Enterprise)
- University of Kent (Anthony Manning, Director and Dean for Global and Lifelong Learning)
- University of Leeds (Dr Piruthivi Sukumar, ProDean International)
- UUKi (Eduardo Ramos, Head of Transnational Education)
- Department for International Trade (Alina Zuzanna Tomassi, Higher Education Specialist, Digital, Education, Creative, Consumer & Sports (DECS) Directorate)