Home > News and blog > University leaders join delegation to India to promote UK higher education

University leaders join delegation to India to promote UK higher education

Mumbai skyline, India

A large number of UK university leaders are in India this week (9-11 Dec) as part of a delegation to raise the profile of UK higher education.

The delegation will be led by the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills Sajid Javid MP and the Minister for Universities and Science Jo Johnson MP. They will be joined by nine university vice-chancellors, as well as several pro-vice-chancellors and the Director of the UK Higher Education Unit.

The aim of the visit is to promote the university links that exist between the UK and India and to 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.

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.

Professor Sir Steve Smith, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Exeter and Chair of Universities UK’s International Policy Network, 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.”

Vivienne Stern, Director of the UK Higher Education International Unit (IU) and also part of the UK ministerial delegation to India, said: “UK universities and qualifications have an enviable global reputation for quality, with a 91% student satisfaction rate among international students. This is higher than for many other major, English-speaking countries.

“This is why so many international students, including those from India, choose to study in the UK. Research published by the IU today, comparing international students’ perceptions of study in the UK with those who chose to study elsewhere, demonstrates that this reputation is richly deserved. On almost every measure, we outperform the main alternative countries in terms of student satisfaction and the quality of teaching and learning.”

The vice-chancellors travelling as part of the delegation are:

  • Professor Sir Steve Smith, Vice-Chancellor, University of Exeter and Chair of Universities UK International Policy Network
  • Professor Colin Riordan, Vice Chancellor, Cardiff University and Chair of the UK Higher Education International Unit
  • Professor Paul Boyle, President and Vice-Chancellor, University of Leicester
  • Peter Horrocks, Vice-Chancellor, The Open University
  • Professor Calie Pistorius, Vice-Chancellor, University of Hull
  • Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, President and Vice-Chancellor, University of Manchester
  • Professor John Vinney, Vice-Chancellor, Bournemouth University
  • Professor Andrew Wathey, Vice-Chancellor, Northumbria University       
  • Professor Stuart Bartholomew, Vice-Chancellor, Arts University Bournemouth 

Key Contacts

Gareth Morgan

Gareth Morgan

Media Relations Manager
Universities UK

Clara Plackett

Clara Plackett

Press and Social Media Officer
Universities UK


Busy road with pedestrians

Helping international academics fleeing conflict and persecution

24 February 2016
The Council for At-Risk Academics has seen a massive rise in the number of applications for support from university teachers and researchers trying to escape from truly frightening conditions.

international students

A message from international students

15 December 2015
The views of thousands of international undergraduate students expressed in new research commissioned by the International Unit give the UK the highest satisfaction ratings amongst comparator countries.