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The Vice Chancellor meeting alumni in India on a recent visit.

Vice-Chancellor joins Minister’s delegation to India

Professor Sir Steve Smith has joined a high-profile delegation visiting India this week to promote UK Higher Education.

The delegation is led by Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, and the Minister for Universities and Science, Jo Johnson MP.

The high-profile visit will promote the university links that exist between the UK and India, as well as promote the UK as a study destination for international students. India provides more international students to the UK than almost any other country – second only to China – with 19,750 students from India studying at all levels.

Sir Steve, the Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of the University of Exeter, is one of nine university vice-chancellors, as well as several pro-vice-chancellors and the director of the UK Higher Education Unit, taking part in the visit.

He said: “This is a significant delegation and will provide an opportunity to highlight the growth potential for UK-India university links.

“It will be a chance for us to repeat the government’s commitment to growing the numbers of international students coming to the UK. It will be an opportunity also for us to remind students and academics from India that they are welcome in the UK and that there remain opportunities for qualified international graduates to stay in the UK to work for a period after graduating.

“Indian students and academics make an enormous contribution to higher education and to the UK, academically, culturally and economically. The UK remains one of the most attractive destinations in the world for international students and is well positioned to benefit from the expected growth in international higher education.”

The visit to India follows the UK government's recent commitment to international students announced in the Chancellor's Spending Review and Autumn Statement in November. The statement said the government is ‘committed to strong growth in students from outside the European Union (EU)’ and said that the number of students from outside the EU at English universities is expected to rise by 55,000 by 2020.

This latest visit follows on from November 2014, when Sir Steve accompanied the then Minister for Universities and Science, the Rt Hon Greg Clark MP, to India to attend the India-UK Science Innovation Council meeting and the UK-India Bilateral Education Forum.

Sir Steve also accompanied the Prime Minister David Cameron on a three day visit to India, one of just six UK universities to do so, in February 2013.

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Date: 9 December 2015

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