About UK university education
A UK degree is global, giving you access to career opportunities and the stamp of quality, which is sought after by potential employers, writes Rob Lynes, director, British Council India
One of the things we are proud of in the UK is our higher education institutions. The UK has four of the top 10 universities in the world. In addition, there are 111 other educational institutions and universities which offer a wide range of courses and qualifications.
A UK qualification is backed by centuries of academic excellence and commitment to make learning contemporary and global . It is no small feat that researchers in UK universities have won 65 Nobel prizes. More than eight centuries after they were founded, Oxford and Cambridge continue to be independently ranked by The Times as one of the best places to study in the world. These historical institutions along with other centres of learning provide excellence in the field of education and skills, which are just as relevant today to an internationally focussed student. Recent research with international students has shown that 88% of international graduates are satisfied with their learning experience in the UK and that 92% of postgraduate students rate the quality of teaching they receive positively.
In addition, the UK is the home of the English language and more than seven lakh students come here every year to enhance their language ability. English is not just the international language of business but also of the internet and is considered a core corporate skill. Indian students have a long standing familiarity with the English language enabling them to easily understand their course requirements .
Studying in the UK gears up a student for success in the professional world as institutions offer the largest number of MBA courses in Europe. There has been high level investment in educational technology and in curricula development to match the demands of rapidly changing economic environment, ensuring that business students are skilled with the latest knowledge.
Science and technology courses are also sought-after by Indian students ; 9% of all global research papers are published by scholars in the UK and 10% of the world's scientific citations have been awarded to science researchers at British institutions . Technology and innovation centres have been established with links between universities and enterprises which convert great research into commercially viable enterprises .
The professional and skills sector has also developed through important links forged with the private and corporate world. There are a range of innovative post-academic learning courses and management training, which further strengthen employability. Studies show that UK educated graduates achieve markedly higher average salaries in their home countries.
The UK has set no limits on the number of visas to be issued to genuine Indian students. Additionally, a new visa has been introduced for graduate entrepreneurs, which allows students with innovative ideas to stay in the UK and bring them to fruition.
Small wonder that there are more than 2.5 lakh UK alumni in India today and scholarships and bursaries are available to students as per timetables issued regularly by educational centres.
>> FACT SHEET
The UK has a points-based visa system , which is designed to be objective and transparent. To apply for a student visa, you need to gain 40 points. This includes 30 points for a "confirmation of acceptance for studies" from the university, college or school where you want to study. Your chosen place of study must be on the "register of sponsors" kept by the UKBA. This register is designed to give you peace of mind that you are applying to join a bona fide institution . The tier-based system is designed to help simplify the process and it is always important to check the latest update on British government websites where the latest information is always available. For more information, visit www.britishcouncil.in
Though the post-study work visa was stopped in April 2012, there continue to be opportunities under Tier 2 of the points-based system for graduates to take up graduate level jobs in the UK with registered companies. However, latest changes to UK Immigration Rules will allow international students to take up corporate internships after completing their degree and making it easier for graduate entrepreneurs to take up skilled jobs. Also, individuals on Graduate Entrepreneur visas can switch to a skilled workers visa more easily. They will be able to switch visas for a job with a 'new entrant' salary and sponsors won't have to complete a Resident Labour Market Test. www.gov.uk/government/ speeches/statement-ofchanges-in-immigration-rules--5
>> COURSE VS COLLEGE
FINDING A COURSE
The first step is to find the right course, and a good place to start is UCAS, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service, which is responsible for managing higher education applications for both UK and international students. The UCAS website carries detailed listings of higher education courses, including entry requirements and information about the institution offering the course. For more, visit www.ucas.com
WHERE TO STUDY
Depending on your chosen subject, you will probably find that many institutions offer suitable courses. To help you choose between them, visit each institution's website to assess the reputation of both course and provider. You can also consult some of the independent guides to higher education facilities . Published annually, these guides rank institutions on a range of criteria, and often include student feedback. As you may be living at your chosen institution for three or four years, you need to find a place that suits your personality and budget, so consider location, cost of living (which can vary significantly across the UK), access to transport , and so on. For more information, visit www.educationuk.org/global
Times of India,16th September: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/education/news/Knowledge-is-Great-Britain/articleshow/22613419.cms