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Human Resource Development Minister,Smriti Zubin Irani meets with British High Commissioner

Smriti Zubin IraniBritish High Commissioner, Sir James David Bevan, accompanied by Mr. Andrew Soper, Counselor, called on Ms. Smriti Zubin Irani, Minister for Human Resource Development, in her office today (10.06.2014). Congratulating the Hon’ble Union Minister on her assumption of charge of the Human Resource Development Ministry, Sir James David Bevan also handed over a letter of congratulations from Mr. David Willets, Minister for Universities and Science, United Kingdom. 

The High Commissioner reiterated that the Government of the United Kingdom is keen to further strengthen its collaboration with India in the field of education & research. He highlighted that the British Government is looking forward to a new collaborative arrangement, UKIERI-III, which will focus on skills, leadership development and innovation. 

Thanking the High Commissioner and the Government of the United Kingdom for their desire to strengthen collaboration with India in the field of education and research, the Hon’ble Minister stressed that one of the basis for collaboration should be to remove barriers that hinder student mobility. Citing examples, she highlighted that while prestigious universities like Oxford recognize India’s CBSE Certification, most other universities in the United Kingdom do not. Further, the scores of the English language test (IELTS) needed for admissions in UK Universities are currently valid only for one year. This should be extended for at least for three years. Similarly, the visa norms should be more facilitative in nature. 

She identified that the UK Government’s recent initiative of the Newton Fund provides opportunities to collaborate for research on issues relating to energy, urbanization, water, sanitation along with research on high altitude systems, which will be critical for the Central University of Himalayan Technology being planned by India. 

Other areas of collaboration between the two countries that were discussed include partnering for the Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and the National e-Library being planned to be developed by India as well as sharing of expertise in the field of School Education and Teachers’ Training. 

The Hon’ble Minister welcomed the visit being planned by Mr. David Willets, Minister for Universities and Science, Government of the United Kingdom later this year, stressing that such interactions provide opportunities to further strengthen educational collaboration between the two countries. (PIB)

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