Humza Yousaf, the Scottish minister for external affairs and international development, was recently in India to talk about strengthening ties between India and Scotland. He tells FE’s Abhishek Chakraborty that Scotland will continue to focus on areas of common interest and share best educational practices with India.
What are your immediate plans as far as promoting Scotland in India is concerned?
India is Scotland's third-largest international market for further and higher education students. The Scottish government is committed to continuing to attract talented people to Scotland to live, work and study. During my recent visit to India, I held a number of educationally-focused meetings and I am taking back the learnings from these to engage in discussions with both education bodies and higher education institutions in Scotland.
How do you think the education system in India works? How different it is from Scotland's?
The Indian education system is large and highly diverse, with over 31,000 institutions and over 14.6 million students. We know that this figure will rise to 34 million by 2020 and that the Indian government has proposed a number of changes to the education system in the country over the next 10 years to create hundreds of new universities and colleges. This, among other things, will offer various opportunities for Scotland and India to develop bilateral university collaboration and to increase Scottish-Indian research and development projects and programmes.
The Scottish government is committed to working with the Indian government and individual institutions to share best practices and to continue to develop approaches to learning that reflect our shared pursuit of development. Collaborative programmes already exist in a wide array of subject areas such as biomedical sciences, computer arts and games development, engineering, financial and business services and fashion, textiles and hospitality. Our focus is, therefore, on areas of common interest and sharing of best practices.
What is the students exchange currently like between Scotland and India?
The Scottish government encourages participation in initiatives that target the mobility and internationalisation of students, staff and researchers. This includes Scotland’s Saltire Scholarships for incoming students, launched in 2009. There are 200 scholarships available annually, of which 50