After its exit from the European Union (EU) was complete at the end of last year, the UK had announced plans for a new Turing Scheme to replace the EU-wide student exchange programme called Erasmus as a means to widen the network of university-level students travelling to study abroad.
The Department for Education (DfE) has now set out further details for higher education institutions in Britain to apply for the 110 million pounds Turing Scheme, named after celebrated English mathematician and codebreaker Alan Turing.
The DfE confirmed that India, already a top source of international students to the UK, may well be among the leading list of countries with which UK universities seek to strike student exchange projects when the bids open in March.
“We are committed to making sure our students, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, can benefit from studying and working abroad. Working with the British Council, we will open up the globe to our young people, and I look forward to seeing the exciting and enriching opportunities the Turing Scheme will bring,” said UK Universities Minister Michelle Donelan.
“In these unprecedented times, having a proactive global education agenda is more important than ever so we can build back better from the pandemic. Our world-class education is a vital part of our economy and society, and we want to support universities, schools, colleges and all aspects of the education sector to thrive across the globe” she said.
The new scheme, now with a new website providing funding and application details for universities, will support students from across the UK to take advantage of the benefits of studying and working abroad from September 2021.
“The new Turing scheme, which the British Council will help to deliver, will enable thousands of students to study around the world. It will target and provide support to students from disadvantaged backgrounds, making life-changing opportunities accessible to everyone across the country,” said Kate Ewart-Biggs, British Council Interim Chief Executive.
The move forms part of an updated International Education Strategy, led by DfE and the Department for International Trade (DIT), focused on boosting global growth opportunities in the education sector post-pandemic.
“The UK offers world-class education, a global reputation and a strong presence in international markets, with education exports, such as in EdTech and transnational education reaching 23.3 billion pounds in 2018,” said UK Minister for Exports Graham Stuart.
“It’s vital we help the UK’s world-renowned education industry to build back better by exporting our brilliant goods, services, skills and innovation across the globe,” he said.
The strategy reflects a government drive to increase the amount generated from education exports, such as fees and income from overseas students and English language teaching abroad, to 35 billion pounds a year, and sustainably recruit at least 600,000 international students to the UK by 2030.
Streamlining application processes and boosting job prospects for international students form part of the wider strategy goals.
“This approach has delivered real benefits already, including the introduction of the graduate route, and improvements to the visa system. Despite a very difficult year, interest in UK study has grown as a result,” said Vivienne Stern, Director of Universities UK International (UUKi).
“We particularly welcome the launch of the Turing Scheme, which will create new opportunities for students in UK universities to gain valuable international experience. We know these opportunities enable graduates to develop the skills employers need, and that the benefits are most pronounced for those from less advantaged backgrounds,” she said.
UK education providers are also being encouraged to take advantage of schemes such as UK Export Finance’s General Export Facility, an export guarantee scheme that can be used by firms to help cover the everyday costs linked to exporting.
Further export support includes enhancing the international student experience from application to employment, connecting international demand for chartered body qualifications to UK education suppliers, and identifying specific Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) export opportunities for UK businesses.
The strategy also outlines plans for a new International Teaching Qualification (iQTS) so teachers around the globe can train to “world-leading” UK standards and support growing international demand for high quality teaching.
“Changes to the visa arrangements, the new iQTS, a focus on a set of priority markets and the launch of the Turing mobility scheme will all support making the UK an even more successful and attractive educational powerhouse,” said Sir Steve Smith, UK International Education Champion.